The Los Angeles Lakers were looking to get their first three-game win streak of the season when they traveled to Minnesota for a Sunday afternoon game against the upstart Timberwolves.
Kobe Bryant came into the game only nine points behind Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nick Young also came in looking to build on his outstanding 29 point performance in the team’s last outing against the Spurs.
The Timberwolves came into the game with the worst record in the Western Conference, but that meant nothing the last time these teams played as the Timberwolves beat the Lakers in LA behind 29 points from rookie Zach LaVine. The Lakers currently stand at 7-16 while the Timberwolves are 5-17.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the Lakers missed two jumpers while the Timberwolves turned the ball over on their first two possessions. Minnesota got the first points off two free throws from Andrew Wiggins. The Lakers responded with their first basket from Ed Davis, and forced another turnover leading to a foul as the Lakers led 3-2 early in the quarter. Another turnover led to a fast break layup for Johnson. Wiggins got off to a great start scoring the first six points for the T-Wolves. Minnesota went on a quick 8-2 run that was stopped by a Johnson three as the teams were tied 10-10 midway through the quarter. The Lakers offense started to struggle as the Timberwolves were able to get out in transition and pull ahead 18-12. Kobe got on the board with two free throws to cut the deficit to four. The Lakers went on a run of themselves, capped off by a Carlos Boozer dunk to retake the lead at 20-19. Robert Sacre worked hard to secure an offensive rebound and finished with a hook as the Lakers lead 22-19 after the first quarter.
Jeremy Lin got a fast break layup but was quickly matched on the other end by Budinger as the Lakers remained ahead by three. The bench continued their excellent play of late as a couple of Boozer baskets was followed by a Young jumper. Zach LaVine would get a fast break dunk off a Lakers turnover, but Boozer came right back with a three-point play. Kobe checked in and immediately knocked down a three-pointer to push him only a basket away from passing Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant would get fouled on a drive and make both free throws to pass Jordan as they stopped the game and presented Kobe with the ball as players from both teams congratulated him on his accomplishment. The T-Wolves quickly fought back and cut the lead to two on an alley-oop to LaVine, but Kobe would hit another three, and then three free throws to put the Lakers up eight. But the Lakers couldn’t hold the lead as Minnesota again came right back with a 7-0 run, but a Jordan Hill jumper stopped that and Ed Davis got a transition layup as the Lakers remained in front by five. A couple Jordan Hill free throws ended the scoring as the Lakers remained ahead by five, 49-44, at halftime.
The Timberwolves got off to a good start with Dieng and Young scoring baskets before Jordan Hill got the Lakers on the board in the half. Both teams were sloppy at the start of the quarter with turnovers and missed shots on both ends. Ronnie Price free throws put the Lakers up six and Ed Davis followed with a dunk on an out of bounds play. Minnesota stayed in it with baskets by Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad, but the Lakers responded at the free throw line to keep them at bay. A Johnson three gave the Lakers the first double-digit lead of the game, up 10 with five minutes left in the quarter. The Lakers continued to excel at the free throw line as two more from Lin kept the Lakers up by 10. Muhammad continued his impressive game as his free throws cut the Lakers lead to six. The teams traded baskets as Muhammad continued to score while baskets from Lin and Boozer kept the Lakers ahead by six. But baskets from Muhammad and Hummel cut the Lakers lead to two at the end of the quarter, 71-69.
Boozer got the Lakers started with a layup, but Minnesota came right back as a Robbie Hummel three tied the game 73. Boozer continued the scoring with two free throws and a layup in transition as the Lakers went back up four. Young struggled most of the day, but hit a huge three to increase the lead to seven before Bennett got a tip-in. The Lakers continued to struggle on the offensive glass as Bennett got himself another putback and another Muhammad basket cut the lead to three. Boozer continued his strong play with another layup off an offensive rebound. Boozer hit another fadeaway to keep the Lakers up by five and Kobe hit a three as the Lakers went up eight with five minutes left. Thad Young hit a jumper but Kobe got in the paint with a jumper of his own to keep the Lakers ahead. A jumper by Wiggins and a Brewer three made it a one possession game, but Bryant hit another short jumper. Kobe turned the ball over on the next possession as the Timberwolves got a dunk. A previous Kobe three was overturned to a two, and Wiggins hit two free throws to tie the game with just over a minute remaining. Kobe came down and hit a deep three to put the Lakers up with under a minute left. The Lakers got a stop forced the Timberwolves to foul Bryant who made one of two free throws to make it a two possession game with 20 seconds left. LaVine missed a three and Nick Young hit two free throws to ice the game as the Lakers won their third straight game, 100-94.
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