The first game of the Clippers' longest road trip this season got off to a dreadful start in Minnesota.
Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups sat again with injuries. No surprise there. But forward Matt Barnes, whose temper is frequently his worst enemy, was ejected in the second quarter for a flagrant 2 foul just 3 minutes into the second quarter.
The game had the makings of a disaster. So how did the Clippers still squeeze out a 96-90 win over the Timberwolves?
They made big shots near the end of the game, got critical contributions from a variety of sources and played with resolve in the second half despite their missing pieces.
Those are traits of good teams, and although the Clippers have ebbed and flowed this month after a perfect December, they clearly know how to close out a game when they sense it can be done.
They deserve credit for gathering themselves after the loss of Barnes, who was tossed for throwing a vicious forearm near the neck of Timberwolves center Greg Stiemsma...