Give Blake credit. On a night when his shot wasn't falling, Griffin earned his points the hard way. He outworked the Wolves on the offensive glass, out-muscling two and sometimes three men to convert second-chance baskets. As the schedule continues its inevitable grind, this will be the Griffin we see more often -- less finesse, more force. Man's game.
Paul looked exhausted Monday after playing 42 minutes the night before in Houston. Quiet starts followed by dominant finishes have been Paul's trademark this season, but on Monday his second wind never came. Paul was more active in the fourth but never found his range, making only two shots in the second half and missing a potentially tying free throw with two seconds to play.
It's reductive to judge a player by his salary, but DeAndre Jordan looked nothing like a $10-million-dollar man on Monday. The muffed outlet passes and missed assignments are frustrating enough -- the inability to make in-game adjustments is maddening. Good defensive centers -- the thing Jordan is paid to be -- do not get beat by Darko's left-shoulder spin move three times in a half.
After two months leading the Pacific Division, the Clippers find themselves back in a familiar place: looking up at the Lakers in the standings. Although the schedule provides a built-in excuse -- Monday night was the fourth game in five cities in as many days -- slipping behind the hated Lakers highlights how the Clips' mediocre play since Chauncey Billups went down.
Few teams bedevil the Clips like these Wolves, who had already stolen two at Staples Center by abusing L.A.'s shaky perimeter defense with smooth ball movement and a clown car's worth of lanky shooters. They took advantage of the Clips' rubbery legs Monday night -- often, Kevin Love was so wide-open it looked like a pregame shoot around.