MINNEAPOLIS — Down two more injured players, the Clippers just stayed the course, sticking with their “next man up” mantra.
They didn't have that many men to step into the void, but the 10 players the Clippers had healthy Monday night were more than enough for them to overwhelm the Minnesota Timberwolves, 114-104, at the Target Center.
Blake Griffin missed his first game of the season with back spasms.
Jamal Crawford didn't play because of a sore left Achilles’ tendon.
Danny Granger was back home in Los Angeles with a strained left hamstring and J.J. Redick was sitting out his 24th consecutive game with a bulging disk in his lower back.
“That's the attitude that we have to have is that no matter what the obstacles, just keep playing,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “We have enough guys and that's what we talked about today. I didn't mention the injury.”
Darren Collison led the Clippers in scoring with a season-high 28 points. He also had seven assists.
Matt Barnes had 19 points and six rebounds, Chris Paul had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 24 rebounds to go along with 11 points and four blocked shots.
Jared Dudley started in place of Griffin, and scored 16 points on six-for-10 shooting. He made two of three from three-point range.
“My mentality was I knew I was going to start, just because Doc put me in right behind [Griffin at shoot-around],” Dudley said. “But for me, it was just hitting some shots …”
Glen Davis was the only Clipper to barely play, getting 3 minutes 34 seconds of action.
Davis had a run-in with Rivers on Saturday night in Houston.
Rivers said the two had talked and that the issue was resolved.
Rivers had Davis escorted from the team bench and into the locker room during the second quarter of the game in Houston because Davis had become a “distraction” with his behavior.
“Everything is fine now,” Davis said Monday after the game. “I apologized to my teammates and everybody because it was a distraction. It was a big distraction. And we're trying to win a championship. That's what I'm here for and I want to contribute.
“I want to cheer. I want to be on the team. But I want to contribute. That's my main goal, to help this team.”
The Timberwolves lost center Nikola Pekovic with a sore right ankle in the first quarter, but they already were playing like a team that is out of the playoff race.
But the Clippers didn't let being short-handed stand in the way of winning.
“Usually guys are in the locker room like, 'Man, it's going to be tough tonight. We don't have this guy.' But we rally around each other,” Paul said. “Blake and Jamal were on the bench cheering for us, telling us what they see. That's just how our team was made.”
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