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Clippers Catch Wolves Sleeping


Darrick Martin said it was nothing personal. But his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, certainly took their latest loss hard.

Martin scored a season-high 22 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Timberwolves 100-85 Sunday. It was the Clippers' second win of the season and their first road victory of the year in 13 tries.

"It's always fun to beat a friend," said Martin, who played for the Wolves from 1994-96. "I consider (Timberwolves vice president) Kevin McHale and (head coach) Flip Saunders very good friends. Whenever you're competing with friends, it's always fun to beat them."

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  • With friends like Martin, struggling Minnesota (14-12) needs no enemies. The Wolves, battling injuries and lacking the intensity they displayed earlier in the year, have lost five of six games.

    "It's embarrassing," point guard Terrell Brandon said. "It shows a lack of focus and a lack of professionalism. But no one's going to feel sorry for us."

    Least of all the Clippers (2-22), who relished one of their best performances of the season.

    "I feel very good," coach Chris Ford said. "We went after it today. We were very physical on the defensive end. Our big guys pounded the boards, and that was the difference in the game."

    The Clippers outrebounded the Wolves 52-35 and held Minnesota, the NBA's top offensive rebounding team (nearly 17 a game) to just 10. Rookie center Michael Olowakandi had a career-high 16 rebounds.

    Los Angeles also took advantage of Minnesota's injury-depleted bench. Guards Anthony Peeler, Reggie Jordan and Malik Sealy all sat out the game, forcing the Wolves to start Brandon with four forwards.

    Lamond Murray led the Clippers' reserves with 19 points, and Rodney Rogers and Lorenzen Wright had 14 points and nine rebounds each. The Clippers' bench outscored the Wolves' 7-19.

    "We were more conscious of what we had to do to win today," Wright said. "Coach stressed everyone on the boards. We're real happy, but we need to build on this and move on."

    Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves with 27 points.

    After trailing 77-61 midway through the third quarter, the Wolves rallied to within 82-73 with 8:38 to play when Garnett scored six straight points. But following a timeout, Martin drained a 3-pointer. The Wolves never got within 12 points again.

    "(Martin) was stellar," Ford said. "Great defense, assists and points. With Sherman (Douglas) hurt, he's going to be playing a lot of minutes."

    Notes: Douglas sat out the game with a strained left quadricep. ... The Clippers have a 21-17 record all-time against the Timberwolves. Los Angeles leads the all-time series against only one other team, Vancouver, at 8-6. ... The Clippers went over the 100-point mark for only the fourth time this year, and they held their opponents to the lowest point total of the season. ... Garnett has led the Wolves in scoring in 10 of their last 13 games.

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