Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Williams, Beasley lead Wolves to 109-97 victory over Clippers and back above .500

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves players, Wolves postgame, On the road, Wolves news Updated: February 29, 2012 - 5:35 AM

Rookie Derrick Williams returned to Los Angeles at home Tuesday and looked more at home than he has all this season, scoring 27 points off the bench that Michael Beasley matched step by step.

 History can be a fickle thing and measured in many ways, but according to Elias Sports Bureau, Derrick Williams did something Tuesday night back home in L.A. that has never been done before.

On a night when he made nine of 10 field attempts, including all four three-pointers he took, and 5-for-5 from the line, Williams became the first player in NBA history to shoot 90 percent from the field (a minimum of 10 field-goal attempts), perfect from three-point land (minimum 4 attempts) and perfect in free throws (minimum five attempts) in a single game.

He and teammate Michael Beasley each scored 27 to lead a Wolves’ bench that scored 72, most in the NBA this season and two points away from a franchise record set in 2009.

Here’s the game story from Tuesday night, when Williams and Beasley each gave the kind of performances for which Rick Adelman has been searching:

One that will keep him from having to play Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio 40 minutes or more again.

Rubio played fewer than 29 minutes, and just 84 seconds in the fourth quarter when Adelman again turned to Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea like he did in last Wednesday’s unlikely comeback victory over Utah at Target Center.

Love played just 25 minutes, both because of early foul trouble and because of a rib injury sustained in the third quarter.

He put on a padded shirt and said he was prepared to play in the fourth quarter, but Adelman never needed him because of both Williams and Beasley, who combined to shoot 80 percent (20-25) from the field and made all seven threes they attempted (4 for Williams, 3 for Beasley).

Love said he was hurting after the game – he said DeAndre Jordan hit him in the back and he got hit a couple times after that – but said he has a high pain threshold and expects to play Wednesday night against the Lakers at Staples.

A couple other things about Tuesday’s game:

·         * Clippers star Blake Griffin scored 24 points by halftime, 29 by the end of three quarters and…just one more point after that in the fourth quarter, thanks to Blake Buster Darko Milicic, who played 10:36 of the fourth quarter and was mostly responsible to shutting Griffin down and allowing the Wolves to outscore the Clippers 36-21, the same lopsided fourth-quarter margin by which they outscored the Jazz six days earlier.

·         * The Wolves’ 27 assists were a season high. Rubio had nine of those in his 28:58 played and Barea had seven of them and Milicic, of all folks, had five.

        * The Wolves moved over .500 Tuesday night with another comeback victory in which both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio sat either all or most of the fourth quarter.

Now can they stay there?

“We can try, no guarantees,” Beasley said after the Wolves' second victory at Staples Center over the Pacific Division leaders in five weeks. “If we play like we played tonight second half, it’s no question.”

The last time the Wolves slipped into winning territory, they beat Sacramento at Target Center on Feb. 7 to get to 13-12, then lost four consecutive games, their longest losing streak of the season.

This time, they have gotten there again, this time by winning consecutive comeback games and by winning five of their last six games.

S     So when, you might ask, is Adelman going to shake up a starting lineup that once trailed by 10 points in the first quarter and either replace ineffective Wes Johnson with Beasley or try Williams there at small forward?

I s   I suggest you don’t hold your breath, but we’ll know shortly since the Wolves Tuesday started a stretch where they play three games in three nights on the road and 11 of their next 15 away from Target Center.

T     That's it from Los Angeles Tuesday night.

I      I'll blog at you again on Wednesday, when we'll find out with the NBA will allow Kobe Bryant and his broken nose to play or if the league's new concussion policies will keep him sidelined since Sunday's All Star Game.

 

 

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