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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published April 12 2012

Clippers top Love-less Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS – The Los Angeles Clippers are getting healthy and starting to roll at the right time, with hopes high that they’re going to be playing deep into the postseason.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are so banged up that this year can’t end soon enough.

Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Caron Butler scored 17 points to lead the playoff-bound Clippers to a 95-82 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday night.

Mo Williams had 14 points and five assists in his return for the Clippers, who entered the night 1½ games behind the Lakers for the third seed in the West and just a 1/2 game ahead of Memphis for the fourth seed.

“It’s great to get a win no matter what, especially at this time of year when we’re fighting for spots,” said Griffin, whose Clippers improved to 15-14 on the road and haven’t finished with a winning road record since relocating to L.A. in 1984. “It’s a great win for us.”

Michael Beasley had 14 points and 10 rebounds and J.J. Barea had 10 points and 11 assists for the Timberwolves, who have lost eight straight games. They’ve lost 24 in a row in the month of April dating back to 2009.

The Wolves were playing without All-Star Kevin Love, who missed the game with a mild concussion, the latest in a long line of injuries that derailed a once promising season.

“It can’t get any worse, man,” Barea said with eight stitches in his lip courtesy of a collision late in the first half. “It can’t get any worse.”

The Clippers made 12 3-pointers and turned 17 Minnesota turnovers into 24 points. Butler hit 5 of 8 from deep and the Clippers outscored Minnesota 20-6 in the first nine minutes of the final period to blow the game open.

Williams was 6-for-11 in his first game since March 22. He missed 11 straight with a sprained big toe on his left foot, but he’s returning just in time to get back into a groove before the playoffs.

There was a little panic in Lob City when the Clippers lost eight of 11 games in March and appeared to be sliding down the Western Conference ladder. But they appear to be picking up steam at just the right time, with 10 wins in their last 12 games as the playoffs approach.

“It felt great. The team was in a great rhythm so I just didn’t want to mess up the rhythm the team was playing with,” Williams said. “I just wanted to step right in and do whatever I can to help the team.”

L.A. Clippers 21 26 26 22 – 95

Minnesota 26 22 20 14 – 82

L.A. CLIPPERS (95): Butler 6-13 0-0 17, Griffin 9-16 1-5 19, Jordan 2-4 0-0 4, Paul 3-8 1-1 8, Foye 4-14 0-0 11, Martin 4-4 0-0 8, Young 3-11 3-4 10, M.Williams 6-11 0-0 14, Bledsoe 2-8 0-0 4, Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Thompkins 0-1 0-0 0, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 39-91 5-10 95.

MINNESOTA (82): Johnson 1-6 2-2 4, D.Williams 1-7 1-2 4, Pekovic 6-12 5-8 17, Barea 4-9 0-0 10, Webster 3-8 3-3 10, Beasley 6-15 2-4 14, Randolph 7-12 2-3 16, Lee 2-6 0-0 5, Tolliver 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 31-77 15-22 82.

3-Point Goals: L.A. Clippers 12-31 (Butler 5-8, Foye 3-8, M.Williams 2-4, Paul 1-2, Young 1-5, Simmons 0-1, Bledsoe 0-3), Minnesota 5-21 (Barea 2-4, Lee 1-3, D.Williams 1-3, Webster 1-4, Tolliver 0-1, Beasley 0-3, Johnson 0-3). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: L.A. Clippers 55 (Griffin 13), Minnesota 55 (Beasley 10). Assists: L.A. Clippers 22 (Paul 8), Minnesota 20 (Barea 11). Total Fouls: L.A. Clippers 22, Minnesota 12. Technicals: L.A. Clippers Bench, Minnesota Coach Adelman. A: 16,016 (19,356).