Chris Paul's technical is costly in Clippers' loss to Timberwolves, 108-102

Chris Paul's technical is costly in Clippers' loss to Timberwolves, 108-102
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan catches his breath during a break in the action against Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on Wednesday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The poor history Chris Paul has with referee Lauren Holtkamp became an issue again at the worst possible time for the Clippers on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Paul was called for a technical foul with 20.6 seconds left and the Clippers trailing by two points in a game they wound up losing, 108-102, at Staples Center.

Paul and J.J. Redick had trapped Ricky Rubio, with Redick being called for a foul by Holtkamp.


Suddenly, Paul was called for a technical foul by Holtkamp.

"I guess it was a tech for what I said," Paul said.

What did he say?

"Nothing," Paul said. "I didn't say nothing. Obviously that was a timely tech. That's my fault. I apologized to the team. Can't get techs in the fourth quarter."

Rubio made the technical free throw and one of two free throws from the Redick foul for a 104-100 lead.

"Overt clap. That was the explanation," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the officials' explanation to him. "Overt clap."

Last season, Holtkamp called a technical foul on Paul in a game.

After the game, Paul criticized Holtkamp, saying, "This might not be for her."

Paul was fined by the NBA for his remarks.

He was reminded that he has a history with Holtkamp.

"Oh, do we?" said Paul, who had 22 points and eight assists.

The Clippers had their win streak stopped at four games.

Andrew Wiggins had 31 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

The Clippers know they keep pushing their limits as long as Blake Griffin is not playing and providing that inside force.

They were tested again, going down by nine points early in the fourth quarter to a Timberwolves team that had lost five straight games, including a defeat to the woeful Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers had defeated the Timberwolves 14 consecutive times, their longest win streak against any opponent.

The Clippers are 15-4 without Griffin, who is sidelined because of a broken right hand suffered when he threw a punch at team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi.

The Clippers lost one of their key reserves when Austin Rivers got two quick technical fouls after he scored early in the second quarter.

Rivers was ejected from the game, taking his four points and good defense with him to the locker room.

But even before Rivers was thrown out the game, the Clippers had their hands full with the Timberwolves.

At the half, the Clippers led 55-53.

They shot the ball well, making 52.8% of their shots in the first half.

But their defense was poor, allowing the Timberwolves to make 53.5% of their shots in the first 24 minutes.

Twitter: @BA_Turner