MINNEAPOLIS -- Before Monday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Clippers received some good news. Blake Griffin had started running full-tilt and his conditioning and cardio were actually better than they were before he underwent surgery three weeks ago to treat a staph infection.
If things continue to progress this week as they have, there's an outside chance Griffin could be back in time for Sunday's game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Clippers also got some good news in coming back from seven points down -- they were up by 18 in the first half -- to defeat the Timberwolves 110-105, their seventh win in 10 games without Griffin.
Sandwiched in between, however, the Clippers discovered they would have to deal with two more injuries when they return home.
Matt Barnes was ruled out of Monday's game with a right calf strain he suffered on Sunday and Jamal Crawford missed the second half after suffering a right calf contusion in the first half. Both players will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles on Tuesday. To make things worse, J.J. Redick, who had 18 points, was ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing with an official, forcing Doc Rivers to play Hedo Turkoglu, Austin Rivers, Dahntay Jones and Jordan Hamilton, who started in place of Barnes, at the end of the game.
Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan once again led the Clippers as Paul finished with 26 points and 14 assists and Jordan had 12 points and 18 rebounds. The play of Jordan has not only kept the Clippers afloat but has actually improved their position in the West standings with Griffin out.
"I think right now they're the best players at their respective positions with the way they've been playing," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. "Jordan has just been phenomenal with rebounding and everything he's doing and another thing he's doing is he's become probably the best screen setter in the league, whether it's getting J.J. Redick open or getting Chris Paul open. He's bought into the system. I look at Paul now and he's playing like he was when he was the MVP. Those guys are carrying them and their role players are playing extremely well off those guys."