The Los Angeles Lakers looked to begin their second three game win-streak of the season tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Andrew Wiggins opened up the game with a quick deuce that was answered by a three-pointer from Luol Deng. Julius Randle turned the ball over with about 9:30 left to go, but the Timberwolves were unable to capitalize. D’Angelo Russell fired up a three that put the Lakers up 8-7. Two made free-throws from Nick Young put the Lakers up by three, but the Timberwolves quickly answered back with a bucket of their own. Mozgov, not to be left out, added his own two points to the mix. Lakers up 14-11 with under 7:30 to go.
Towns’ floater in the lane was blocked by Mozgov, but he was able to snatch up his own rebound and dish it in the corner for the three. Timberwolves bring it to within one with 6:46 left in the corner, but Deng managed to put them up by two again with a pair of free-throws.
Next time down the floor Nemanja Bjelica spotted a bit of daylight and streaked down the lane for an easy two, putting the Timberwolves on top by one, and Luke decided he had seen enough. However, the Lakers continued to leave shooters wide open as they scrambled on defense, enabling Ricky Rubio to sink the triple.
Andrew Wiggins was fouled with 4:11 to go. His two free-throws put the Timberwolves up by 6, 24-18 Minnesota. Lou Williams entered the game at the three-minute mark. Ingram’s shot was blocked by Wiggins, and he quickly got it down the court for another deuce. The Timberwolves pushed the lead to 13, 33-20 with 1:19 to go.
Ingram was one of two from his trip down the line, chipping the lead to 12 and possibly lower as Clarkson found his was way to the free-thrown line as well. Towns was fouled with 41.7 seconds to go, making one of two.
A loose-ball foul was called on Nance as he tried to recover Williams’ missed shot at the end of the quarter, and two more easy points raised the lead yet again.
However, a silly foul with no time left on the clock sent Brandon Ingram to the line for redemption. This time he managed to sink both.
End of 1st: 27-36 Minnesota
The Lakers came out the gates firing, cutting the lead to within five, but the Timberwolves quickly got it together, putting them up by eight. Clarkson probed the lane and fired it up for Nance, who threw it down with authority. Next time down the court, Clarkson adds a floater of his own. Lakers went with the same play again, feeding the slashing Nance for another deuce.
Kris Dunn was fouled by Lou Williams, his three-point play ending the 12-4 run by Los Angeles. However, his missed free-throw was tapped out by Towns and gunned back into the center. Wiggins’ first attempt is sent back by Black, but his second resulted in an and-one.
Clarkson managed to beat a straggling big off the dribble, bringing the Lakers within 6, 47-41 Minnesota. D’angelo’s fade-away three is off the mark; he’s 0-for-3. Lakers fall behind by nine and Luke decides to talk it over with his team.
With 6:14 to go, Randle’s wild shot ends up being an airball, resulting in a basket on the other end. Out-played on the low-box, D’Angelo Russell turns it over yet again. However, a mishandled pass gave the Lakers a second chance that they just couldn’t capitalize on. Randle went right around Ricky Rubio to gain entrance to the paint, where he was fouled by the collapsing defense. Julius cuts the lead to 10, 52-42 Timberwolves.
Towns knocked down another pair of free-throws a little under four-minute mark, and D’Angelo Russell is fouled going back down the court, but couldn’t make the Timberwolves pay as he missed the free-throw. To make matters worse, Mozgov picked up his fourth foul with 3:21 to go.
The Lakers just couldn’t seem to keep the ball in their possession long enough to even attempt to score. A backcourt violation plus a quick corner shot by a drifting Wiggins extends the lead to fourteen. By the time the timeout came at the two-minute mark, the Timberwolves found themselves up 61-44.
Randle drove down the lane with purpose and scored swarmed by a plethora of white and blue jerseys. Lakers missed a two-for-one opportunity, and Wiggins banked a three at the end of the quarter.
Lakers down 46-61
The first possession of the third didn’t look too good for D’Angelo Russell, but Julius Randle managed to bail him out of a for sure lashing with a triple. Nick Young added another three-ball the second time down the court, prompting Thibodeau to call a quick timeout.
Yet another turnover by the Lakers enabled Andrew Wiggins to strut down the floor and nail the easy bucket even with D’Angelo Russell practically nose-deep in his jersey. 74-56 Minnesota with about three and a half minutes melted off the clock.
Zubac entered the game for the foul-burdened Mozgov, his first attempt blocked by the Timberwolves’ immaculate front-court. Deng was fouled on a three-point attempt around the seven-minute mark. He made all three, bringing the Lakers to within 12. Lakers on a 9-1 run with the potential to capitalize on a missed three by Wiggins, but once again turnovers spell the name of the game for Los Angeles.
Bjelica’s floater in the lane is nothing but net, and with 4:51 left to go in the quarter the Lakers once again fall behind by 16. Luke, frustrated with his team, was forced to reel them in and talk it over once again.
However, Wiggins’ phenomenal night continued, adding a deuce to his 28 points and putting the Timberwolves up 84-68. It was all Minnesota with two minutes left in the third. Out of the timeout, Tarik Black attempted his first pair of free-throws of the night, sinking them both and bringing the Lakers within fourteen.
Towns’ hit a three to end the third.
Lakers down 86-72
However, as the first minute of the final quarter wound down, the Lakers’ finally began to show signs of that comeback team we’ve seen early on this season. With under 11 minutes to go and Lou Williams’ quick eight points, the Lakers found themselves within nine. Lou Williams continued to do his best Kobe Bryant impression and slowly but steadily keep the Lakers within striking distance. All 11 of the Lakers’ fourth quarter points came from him.
Williams continued to stuff his stat sheet with a hail-Mary pass to the streaking Larry Nance Jr., who goes hard to the whole. With 8:24 to go, Lakers trail 97-85. Mozgov entered the game for about five seconds before he picked up his final foul and was called back to the bench by Coach Walton.
Brandon Ingram fouled Andrew Wiggins on a three-point attempt. On his second attempt at the line, Wiggins set a new career high before icing his productive trip to the line with all three made attempts. An incredibly late whistle had Clarkson foaming at the mouth as he was forced to watch Wiggins add to his career high at the line yet again, but his second attempt came up short.
Towns let it fly from the corner, giving the Timberwolves a 103-89 lead. Julius Randle continued bulldozing his way through the defense for a layup, but it’s Wiggins once again down the court having his way with the purple and gold. He had 42 points with a little under five minutes left to play.
Luol Deng iced his second three of the night, but whatever the Lakers did the Timberwolves seemed to do better as they quickly got those points back. Down 14 with four minutes to play, Los Angeles was gifted with a trip the line via Julius Randle, who brought them within 13, but Wiggins’ career-high night continued. Zubac returned to the game at the two and a half minute mark.
Under two minutes to go, Lakers down 118-98 with Wiggins once again occupying the free-throw line. Zubac was hammered hard by Wiggins as he went up to throw it down, the rookie made both free-throws.
The Lakers come up terribly short against the short-handed Timberwolves.
Final Score: Lakers 99, Timberwolves 125