Clippers rally but fade down the stretch against Timberwolves

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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, right, shoots under pressure as Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Los Angeles. "It is a challenge so hopefully we'll be ready for it".

Towns' bounce-back effort - Karl-Anthony Towns is coming off one of his least effective games of the year as he was limited to just seven points against the Grizzlies.

Yet neither victory over the Clippers came easy for the Timberwolves. I don't know that positively, but I think so.

The Clippers, who put up a vicious fight in their last match-up, have been hit hard with the injury bug already this season, with DeAndre Jordan surrounded by a bunch of players that are unrecognizable to even some of the keener National Basketball Association fans.

Gallinari's return to the Clippers couldn't be any more needed.

The big man even scored three straight baskets for his team to cut the lead to three but couldn't overcome Towns and Co. He is averaging 28.3 points per game in December's four games after averaging 17.9 points per game in November.

"I wanted to be better", Gallinari said. "If that's what's necessary, that's what he'll do".

Los Angeles dropped its fourth straight game despite an impressive performance by DeAndre Jordan, who had 18 points and 21 rebounds.

Gibson had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half to pace the Timberwolves to 62-49 halftime lead, while Towns and Wiggins both added 10 points apiece.

The Timberwolves shot 54.9 percent from the floor. Jamal Crawford scored 11 points in his Staples Center return, after the Clippers traded him last summer to the Atlanta Hawks, who bought out his contract.

"I liked our second-half effort", Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, referring to their increased effort and efficiency in rallying from a 19-point third-quarter deficit.

The Wolves will look to bounce back yet again when they face the struggling Los Angeles Clippers (8-14), who have now lost three games in a row since losing Blake Griffin to a knee injury.

"They didn't go away", Thibodeau said. "Just finding a way to win was probably the most important thing".