The NBA's best team so far this season, the Los Angeles Clippers — not the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors' superteam — came to Target Center on Saturday evening and did more than just improve their franchise-best start to 9-1 and their winning streak to six games:
They also sent an audience announced at 14,494 home without free frozen yogurt.
By the time the Clippers led by 19 points in what became a 119-105 victory over the Timberwolves, that lure was the only thing left in doubt after the home team grew desperate enough to foul poor-shooting center DeAndre Jordan eight times in less than six minutes.
It didn't work: Jordan made 10 of his 16 free throws — the only ones he shot all night — and Minnesotans went without their treat every time. Fans win future free yogurt if an opponent misses both free throws, but Jordan never did.
Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers puzzled over the entire concept.
"I don't get the promotion," he said. "Ice cream in L.A., I get that. I think it should be hot chocolate or something here."
Rivers doesn't care much for the Hack-a-Jordan tactic, which also happened Friday when the Clippers won at Oklahoma City, the only team that has beaten his this season.
"But there's nothing you can do about it," Rivers said. "D.J.'s making free throws, so we're good."
The Wolves never pulled within single digits over the game's final 18 minutes. They were far outdone by the league's top-ranked defense and a Los Angeles offensive attack that is far more than superstars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
Griffin's 20-point, 11-rebound night made him the fastest player in NBA history to reach 9,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,500 since a guy named Larry Bird. Griffin did it in 420 games. It took Bird only 398 games to do so.
"That's pretty impressive," Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said, referring to Griffin.
But the Clippers also got 18 points and 16 rebounds from Jordan, thanks to all those free throws, as well as production from starters J.J. Redick and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Redick scored 18 points, while Mbah a Moute, the Clippers' defensive stopper and former Wolves forward, made six of eight open shots, including two three-pointers, and scored 15 points.
"You've got to live with something," Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins said. "That was the game plan."
Color Thibodeau impressed about all he saw from a team coached by his pal and former boss.
"To beat a team that's rolling like that, we obviously have to play a lot better than we did," Thibodeau said. "They're playing together. They're playing so well on both sides of the ball."
The Wolves have started the season 2-6 and on Saturday lost for the second time in three home games. They dropped this one even though point guard Ricky Rubio returned after missing two weeks due to a sprained elbow.
Afterward, center Karl-Anthony Towns alternately said, "We feel every day we're getting better," and "The NBA is hard. That's why only a select group gets to be a part of it. You've got earn your way."
The Clippers are as select as the NBA gets right now. They led by 13 after one quarter and by 19 a minute into the fourth.
"This is the best team I've had here," Rivers said. "But we've got to keep doing it. We've got to keep getting better. This is a heck of a basketball team."
They were good enough Saturday that Wiggins afterward applauded even Jordan's free-throw shooting.
"All you can do is," Wiggins said, motioning the clapping of his hands together.