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Clippers-Timberwolves Preview

AP - Sports

Kevin Love has nearly recorded a triple-double all three times the Minnesota Timberwolves have faced the Los Angeles Clippers this season.

Blake Griffin has also been dominant in those games with three double-doubles, and more importantly, three victories.

It's not certain that either of those stars will be on the court Monday night when the visiting Clippers try to defeat the Timberwolves for the ninth straight time.

These big men only met once in four matchups between these teams last season, but both have been on the court every time they have met this season with some eye-popping results.

That could change Monday after Griffin exited with back spasms in the first quarter of Saturday's 118-107 victory at Houston.

"Back spasms, day-to-day," coach Doc Rivers said. "I'm sure they're going to do whatever they do with X-rays and all that stuff, so we'll see."

Griffin is averaging 25.7 points and 10.0 rebounds during a season series in which Los Angeles (52-22) has taken the first three matchups by a combined 10 points.

Love has also displayed his all-around talent for the Timberwolves (36-36), averaging 26.0 points, 16.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists in those games.

The Minnesota star struggled in Sunday's 114-99 loss at Brooklyn. He finished with just 14 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, shooting 5 of 14 and saying afterward he felt "exhausted" and was perhaps getting sick.

"I couldn't find any energy in the second half and that was really it," Love said.

Love is not the only Minnesota big man who has been tough for the Clippers to contain, with Nikola Pekovic averaging 25.7 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 63.6 percent.

If Griffin can't play, Rivers will likely want to use all his available frontcourt players. That group includes Glen Davis, who lived up to his nickname "Big Baby" when he threw a temper tantrum at the coach Saturday and was benched for the entire second half.

"I thought Baby was just too emotional and for me if you're too emotional I just always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game," Rivers said. "But I love Baby. I just didn't think emotionally he was ready to play tonight."

Without Griffin and Davis, DeAndre Jordan stepped up with 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half Saturday. Jordan finished with 20 points, 12 boards and six blocks.

"His energy is unreal," point guard Chris Paul said. "He puts so much pressure on the defense with the way he rolls and goes after the rebound. Defensive player of the year if you ask me."

Paul is averaging 20.0 points and 11.7 assists in the season series as he readies for another matchup with Ricky Rubio, who is averaging 9.3 assists in those meetings. Paul averages 2.55 steals to lead the league with Rubio second at 2.46.

There are also terrific scorers at shooting guard for these clubs. Minnesota's Kevin Martin is averaging 24.7 points in the season series and Los Angeles' Jamal Crawford 18.7.

The Clippers have won 15 of 17, while the Wolves have dropped four of six.

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