LOS ANGELES -- Baron Davis was having one of his poorest shooting nights as a pro, missing his first nine shots and coming within 8.5 seconds of playing an entire game without a field goal for the first time in eight seasons.
But with the Clippers holding a precarious two-point lead on the dreadful Minnesota Timberwolves, the 11-year veteran point guard drove the lane for a clinching layup to help Los Angeles escape with a 91-87 victory Monday night and send the Wolves to their 13th straight loss.
Davis' streak of 468 consecutive regular-season games with at least one field goal was in jeopardy until that key basket. The last time he failed to make a field goal was Feb. 25, 2002 -- against the Timberwolves -- when he played 12 minutes for the Charlotte Hornets and missed both shots before leaving after one quarter with a bruised chest. His other 11 games without a field goal were during his rookie season in 1999-00.
"Baron is the consummate professional. And when we needed him the most, he rose to the occasion," teammate Marcus Camby said. "That was a big layup down the stretch to put us up four. I don't think he was frustrated. It's not about how you start, but how you finish. He's one of our go-to guys down the stretch. We went to him, and he made a key play."
Al Thornton scored 31 points and Camby had 18 rebounds along with 12 points for the Clippers, who beat the Timberwolves 93-90 at Staples Center on Nov. 2 for their first win of the season after an 0-4 start.
Davis, who committed two turnovers in a 1:17 span on bad passes early in the third quarter, was benched by coach Mike Dunleavy with 8:40 left in the period and didn't return to the floor until 7:10 remained in the game. By then, the Clippers had turned a five-point deficit into an 81-77 lead with former T'wolves guard Sebastian Telfair leading the way.
"The game wasn't going the way Baron wanted it to, but he was still on the sideline cheering," Camby said. "Sebastian's been playing great the last couple of ballgames. That's the luxury of having a guy like him, because we don't have to extend Baron a lot out there on the court. Sebastian came in and ran the team, got some big buckets for us and gave us some good quality minutes."
Rookie Jonny Flynn led Minnesota with 17 points, one of five players in double digits, and Al Jefferson added 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Timberwolves have been held under 88 points in six consecutive games since their 145-105 loss at Golden State on Nov. 9.
"We were taking sloppy shots during the fourth quarter and we were not executing," coach Kurt Rambis said. "We tried to do too much at one time. We play as individuals and not as a whole team, and that's when we get into trouble. We are working on that, and I have faith that this young team will get better and win these games."
Minnesota hasn't won a game since beating the still-winless New Jersey Nets by two points on opening night, and has matched the worst 14-game start in the franchise's 21-year history (1993-94). The T'Wolves' longest losing skid was 16 games in 1991-92, and they are one loss away from matching their longest of last season.
Minnesota took a lead into the fourth quarter for the first time this season, albeit a one-point margin. Telfair opened the quarter with back-to-back jumpers from 13 and 18 feet to give Los Angeles the lead for good and Thornton's dunk with 6:17 remaining gave the Clippers their biggest lead, 85-77. Minnesota got no closer than two on a 3-pointer by Ryan Gomes with 1:05 to play.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon sat out his eighth straight game because of a groin strain, but was on the bench in uniform after scrimmaging with his teammates on Sunday. He is hoping to play on Wednesday when the team plays in his hometown of Indianapolis.
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