Chris Paul doubles up again to lead Clippers over Timberwolves, 102-98
MINNEAPOLIS — It was the way Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul made NBA history Wednesday that was so impressive.
It was the way Paul shredded Minnesota’s defense in passing Hall of Fame member Magic Johnson’s record that was so awe-inspiring.
Paul shook free of his early shooting struggles and delivered the game’s most important moments in carrying the Clippers to a 102-98 victory over the Timberwolves at the Target Center.
He had 16 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 20, and by adding 11 assists for his 12th consecutive double-double, Paul is alone in the history books.
During one stretch in the fourth quarter, Paul scored 13 consecutive points, and 16 of the Clippers’ final 21 points.
“The fourth quarter is winning time,” Paul said. “We all are competitive. But as the leader of the team, me and Blake [Griffin], we know that’s when it’s time to win.”
Paul was tied with Johnson (1990-91) for most double-doubles of 10-plus points and 10-plus assists to start a season.
“Magic is a mentor of mine, somebody I look up to,” Paul said. “His basketball credentials are unbelievable. So to be mentioned with anything with him is huge. It’s an honor, a privilege. Magic tweeted me [Tuesday] and I thought it might jinx me. But I think the coolest thing about it is that it happened and we got the win.”
Paul began his run with 3 minutes 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter, completing a three-point play.
Then Paul made a three-pointer and a jumper for a 94-87 Clippers lead.
His jumper over Ricky Rubio gave the Clippers a six-point lead with 1:30 left.
His jumper after a cross-over that left Rubio out of position gave the Clippers a five-point lead with 31 seconds left.
Griffin helped out with 20 points and 10 rebounds and his defense on Kevin Love (10 points on two-for-14 shooting) was big.
But this was all about Paul.
Through three quarters, Paul had missed seven of his nine shots.
He even seemed hesitant at times to take a shot.
Then during a timeout with 5:19 left, Paul said Coach Doc Rivers asked him why he wasn’t shooting the ball.
Rivers drew up a play for Paul during the timeout.
That turned into the three-pointer over Rubio.
Paul missed only one of his seven shots in the fourth quarter. He finished eight for 16 from the field.
All of which turned Paul and the Clippers into winners.
“He’s one of the best players in the league,” Rivers said. “He’s capable of doing that. And it was good that he was doing that.”
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