Reporting From Minneapolis —
Also known as a turnover from one of the Clippers Kids.
The Timberwolves beat the Clippers, 113-111, on Wednesday night, extending their winless run on the road and putting the overall losing streak at seven consecutive games. Minnesota forward Michael Beasley, the impromptu point guard, hit the winning jump shot with 2.3 seconds remaining and acted like Ryan Gomes wasn't even in the vicinity.
That is understandable. Beasley had 33 points and is on a terrific offensive run of late, having averaged 32.5 points the last four games before Wednesday. Kevin Love added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
But it is the Clippers' brain locks at inopportune times — the how-did-that-happen mistake – that is testing Del Negro, and the stuff that seemed to age former Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy by about five years in two seasons.
This time, it was rookie point guard Eric Bledsoe committing two turnovers in the final two and a half minutes. The first one was a cheeky behind-the-back pass on a fastbreak … to no one in particular.
How about an easy layup? Nah, too simple.
Del Negro almost exhaled when asked about it afterward.
"You can watch film and talk about it…and after he makes the play, you can see it in his face," he said. "He's slapping the ground and he knows it's not the right play. Those are the ones you have to convert at this level."
It was a wildly entertaining wreck.
Despite all this, and despite Beasley's dramatic flair in the clutch, the Clippers still had a shot to win it but Rasual Butler's three-point attempt rimmed out.
"I missed," said Butler, who was two for 10 for six points off the bench. "The play was for Eric [Gordon], but I was open on the baseline and he passed it. Got a good look. Just didn't knock it down."
A disgusted Butler then crumpled up the piece of paper he was holding, the final box, and tossed it aside.
Just like the Clippers season.
They suffered their 11th loss in 12 games despite standout efforts from Eric Gordon, who had 30 points and seven assists, and rookie Blake Griffin's 26 points and 17 rebounds. Rookie Al-Farouq Aminu added 17 points.
"Scoring points wasn't our problem tonight," Del Negro said.
Said Gordon: "We just beat ourselves. They made too many plays where we just let them off the hook.
"We hardly had any answers for Beasley. The isolation, that hurt at the end. He's 6-8, 6-9 and he's a lefty and he can put it on the floor and he can rise up over you.
"I know it's hard to guard him, but with him you've got to be as physical as possible. He'll just shoot over the top of you if you don't get on him."
Beasley was funny when he said he didn't even notice that Wolves Coach Kurt Rambis substituted Sebastian Telfair before the game-winning play, essentially making Beasley the point guard.
"Honestly, I just black out, and stop thinking about everything because when I think it's not really too good," he said. "I just black out, don't think about it and just try to get the bucket."
He spoke highly of Griffin, who had 20 points in the first half.
"That boy is a beast, that guy is good," Beasley said. "When you get him a set jump shot, the sky's the limit for him.… When he gets his outside game together, oh man."
The Timberwolves (4-9) are a young squad too. Of course, not as young as the Clippers. "It was a college game out there," Griffin said.
Barring a last-minute setback, point guard Randy Foye said he thought he might be able to play Thursday at Indiana, slightly accelerating his return to the lineup.
Foye has been out with an injured left hamstring since Oct. 30.
"It's definitely going to be limited minutes, not sure how many yet," Foye said. "You've just got to try to take it easy for the first three to four [games] and from there just push it."