Lakers vs. Timberwolves Game Recap: Young, Pau Close Out Minnesota

Lakers vs. Timberwolves Game Recap: Young, Pau Close Out Minnesota


The Lakers looked to win their second-consecutive game when they faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. The Lakers would be without Kobe Bryant tonight, as he begins his recovery on his knee fracture that he served on Tuesday night.  The Lakers would start Xavier Henry at point guard, as he would become the fifth player to start at that position for this team.

First Quarter

The Lakers came out with a lot of energy, largely inspired by the effort from Xavier Henry. He had some good success driving to the basket early and capitalized on his opportunity as the primary ball-handler. At the end of the first he had 11 points on four of seven shooting from the field.

The rest of the guys did a great job of running the floor in transition, and provided good spacing in half-court sets. As for the T-Wolves, they made a continued effort to pound the ball inside, and looked to score on every available opportunity, but the Lakers constant energy on both ends of the floor reigned supreme, as they broke out to a nine point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Score at the end of the first: Lakers lead 35-26.

Second Quarter

The second unit came in very sluggish, as the Wolves trimmed the lead early in the quarter after converting on a few Lakers turnovers. This forced D’Antoni to bring a few starters (Gasol, Meeks, Henry) back in the game, which would help the Lakers restore the lead that the first unit had built.

However the Wolves would keep on fighting, as they continued to force turnovers and execute on the offensive end. By half time, a Lakers lead that was once 11 points turned into a deficit as Minnesota ended the second quarter on a 20-7 run.

Score at the end of the first: Lakers trail 53-51.

Third Quarter

The Lakers and the Timberwolves traded baskets for the first five minutes of the second half, switching leads on virtually every other possession. It wasn’t until the halfway through the third quarter when one of the team was able to get some separation. A mini-run (inspired by eight third quarter points from Jodie Meeks) allowed the Lakers to take a seven point lead, but the Wolves continued to fight back as they had done in the first half.

However, around the three minute mark the second unit came in and provided that spark that lakers fans have become accustomed to seeing, as the went on an 8-1 run in the final two minutes of the third quarter to going into the fourth with a five point advantage.

Score at the end of the first: Lakers lead 81-76.

Fourth Quarter

Minnesota found a way to come back and tie the game in the early part of the fourth quarter, as the Lakers defense couldn’t find a way to get stops. Pau Gasol came alive in the fourth quarter, and essentially closed the game for the Lakers as he scored seven straight points during in the final four minutes of the quarter en route to his near triple-double finish. This Laker team had so much fun playing together tonight, and ironically found some inspiration with Kobe not on the floor.

Lakers win 104-91

Lakers News: Kobe Bryant Out Six Weeks With Fracture In Knee, Steve Nash Out Four More Weeks

  • e3bonz

    Great game and win, back to .500.

  • Jack

    I have been very critical of pau as of late..but he played a Hell of a game tonight. Not even because of his great numbers or efficiency he’ll have nights like those. But the effort he put in was beautiful to watch, on the defensive end was active & contested shots inside & out of the paint and he was aggressive on the offensive end and on the offensive glass. Great game big spaniard! Lakeshow up!

    • e3bonz

      Nice to see him run the floor.

      • jake

        anybody else think he looks a little lighter the last couple weeks?

  • Daniel

    Love the energy. Swaggy P, and Gasol for 3! I really like this unit.

    However, we’ve got to get a handle on the turnovers, and box out, box out, box out!

    Anybody know what happened to Young? He went down at the end.

    • kobe24

      Seems like he just slipped…or so it seemed like the coaches/players didn’t make it seem like a big deal so lets hope nothing happened and it was just a slip

  • e3bonz

    Nine player rotation, and I thought everyone hustled night, a few mistakes 19 turnovers and too many points for the big Russian. But, it’s a win

  • Ezekiel E. Chavez

    its better without kobe without him anybody can score double figure, if farmar and blake is back no worry at all. the ball can move and the transition get better.

    • cj

      its not better with out kobe. the players think less with out kobe so the ball moves better. they took some bad shots tonight that they did not take when kobe is there because kobe did not let them. they just made some bad shots.

    • Paytc

      Kobe was the guy who gave Gasol a spark, and that took sacrificing a few games which Kobe knew the team would need to have any real chance to win a playoff series. Sure the team can win a few winnable regular season games but playoffs is what Kobe,the FO,and some fans have their sights on. They were starting to find a bit of a rhythm and confidence before Kobe went down, especially Gasol. It was unfortunate, but we have to make the best of things until the team leader returns.

      I hope we can do better than the 10-9 start before Kobe’s return which was better than most critics predicted. I don’t think 500 ball will keep the Lakers in the playoff race. So hopefully they hit a little stride,win streak, and momentum before Kobe’s return and the playoffs.
      One game at a time.

      Go Lakers !

      • Daniel

        I agree, Kobe was doing great the last game he played in. If he can come back aggressive and share the ball like he was, we will be in pretty good shape. We’ll still have to overcome the teams in this crazy talented division though.

        I wonder how long until they play Marshal. And what are they going to do if he plays great when Blake comes back?

        • Paytc

          Yeah Daniel, I agree with you on those points.
          I was a bit down on both Meeks and Blake coming into this season,but they have both “stepped up” and deserve props.
          I guess having a few capable PG’s can only be seen as a positive because it brought out the best in Farmar and Blake. Plus insurance in case we get another unexpected injury is nice to have.

  • Apex

    That was a hell of a game!!! I hope Swaggy isn’t injured…him and Gasol as with the rest of the team played their hearts out. Really good ball movement and really good defence rotations. Gasol played a pretty solid game and actually looked like he was having alot of fun out there. If we tank this year it most definitely won’t be on purpose, everyone on this team wants to prove themselves and it really shows!!

  • Lakers Fan

    Outside of the turnovers, great game on both ends. I’m seriously hoping Pau can keep up this level of play. This is the Pau we have grown to respect and love. I’m not gonna go off the deep end just yet, because I need to see a couple more games like this. I’m just hoping he can keep up this level of play because the team plays so well when he does.

    Swaggy does wonders for this team. The energy is so intoxicating that other players have no choice but to match it. Swaggy was meant to play for the Lakers, and he shows it night in and night out. Great game my friend. Overall, great game as a whole. Go Lakers!

    • Daniel

      I’m with you on that, but they need to box out way more. To many second shot opportunities. That is one thing I really like about Sacre…fundamentally sound on the D. Some of these guys just stand around and wait for the rebound to come to them, instead of sealing off their man from the basket.

      Good win, I like the direction their headed just hope Young didn’t get injured at the end.

  • mambalikesit

    82 games is forever… FF to playoffs please. I am sure no team would want to face this Lakers team in Playoffs. They are YOUNG. Fast and dangerous. Kobe Injury 2 is a blessing in disguise. He should play 2nd half of the season + play offs (82 games + playoffs is too much at his age specially after a devastating injury). The next few months will be crucial to gauge the team’s consistency. If they consistently get Ws then it will make sense to play full throttle for the rest of the season else tanking it is!

    I wish we had this team playing 1st round of playoffs Vs San Antonio last season

    Team is better than last season mainly because its got identity (SWAG!! SWAGGY P)

    i) Great team chemistry.
    ii) fun to watch
    iii) No Coward,his clumsy post moves and cry baby drama

    great game. Lets go Lakers!

    • Paytc

      They do play with a bit more heart and confidence. But I’m not so sure they would not have also gotten swept by the Spurs? Playoff and regular season ball are miles apart. It does help having players who want to be here, and who have their teammates backs. It by far appears to be a more united team. Go Lakers !

      • Daniel

        True. I want to see how they fair against the Spurs just in the regular season. They are still tough as hell. I honestly think when these guys gell they could beat almost any team. Kind of looking like how the Pacers looked last year.

        • Paytc

          I agree with you. But the advantage the Pacers have is just a bit more time playing together. It’s nice not having the superstar immaturity ego clash that D12 presented us with last year. At least this years team all seem to respect the Lakers tradition ,the leadership, and championship experience that is already in place.

  • Daryl Peek

    I’ll never say this team is better without Kobe but there are things they do better without him.

    • Paytc

      It’s not even in the question on the team being close to better without Kobe. Kobe is the reason 95% of the players on the team wanted to be here, despite what you hear in the media. Kobe was the guy who wisely sparked Gasol and had the team turning the corner just before he went down. Let’s keep pulling for the team with and without Kobe or any one else. But, personally I am looking forward to Kobe’s return to the top.

      They will need a healthy Kobe to have a chance to win a playoff series and that’s what matters most IMO. I am a Laker and Kobe fan and since he is the teams leader I appreciate his value to the team.

      Go Kobe ! Go Lakers !

      • Paytc

        Do they play better without Blake,Farmar,and Nash too? The team is playing good team ball with and without Kobe or any one player in particular. They are a team ! They just need to keep “STEPPING UP ” and each individual being personally accountable. That will make them a better and more confident team when all the injured and hurt players return healthy.

        But Kobe is the one player who gets the respect and strikes fear in every playoff team we may face upon making the playoffs. Go Lakers !

    • LakersHeatBeef

      For all the crap Pau took from some of us fans and media this guy is playing great basketball the last few games,he deserves some respect and he should get player of the week in the NBA tbh.Near triple double last night.Trade rumors motivated him to put his butt in gear.

      • Daryl Peek

        I dig the way he’s playing right now. All the crap he took was justified. Pau has manned up in admission of his slacking in his last two post game interviews.

        As a Laker fan I respect that but cannot and will not mind my tongue when I see flat out premeditated piss poor effort from a player of his stature.

        Last night Pau said the way he’s now playing is something that has to be done and will be done from now on… This was a self admission of less than 100% effort on his part previously. I take nothing bad back I said about him based off that. I’ve defended Pau for years. I still like him but as I’ve said recently, he must earn back the trust he lost.

        • LakersHeatBeef

          Something about trade rumors motivates certain players and sadly Pau is one of those guys.Trade rumors drive him to do great things and it is proof with his last few games.

          Aldridge from Portland was in constant trade rumors all summer long and he also used as motivation to help him play better and make his team win.

          Lots of times trade rumors are started by the players agent or in rare cases the player himself.Pau needs to gain back my trust,he makes some mental errors on the court that consist with point shaving tbh,but i am not sure if it is.Just seems like he could careless with his play at times.He literally hands the ball to his opponent on certain plays,SMH at athletes these days.

          • Daryl Peek

            Trade rumors have actually affected Pau negatively. Phil and Kobe kicking him in the butt while coddling him at the same time is what got him back on track.

          • LakersHeatBeef

            I dunno but i noticed his numbers go up when he is on the verge of being moved.But only if it’s legit trade talk otherwise he is still crap as a player most the time.Put you’re big boy pants on Pau lol.Pout about this Pau lol their is nothing left to say.

      • Paytc

        I don’t think trade rumors helped Gasol? I think Kobe working to get him involved and re-assuring him of his value to the team is what got Gasol going IMO/tbh :-) Gasol actually is turned off more by trade talks than he is turned on and motivated by them IMO.

        But he does appear to be playing with more heart and effort. For that I applaud him, but it should be expected from him. Gasol is a 20 million dollar “so call” superstar with championship experience.

        We need all healthy so call superstars (especially championship experienced) to STEP UP” ad lead by example. Gasol should not just rely on getting a spark from many of this years new additions. Gasol has to provide the sparks from time to time as well.

        He looks like he is STEPPING UP’ to do just that. Whatever or whoever is responsible for motivating Gasol to bring it is not as important as the fact that he appears to be starting to bring it. Hopefully he will be consistent. Go Gasol !

        Go Lakers !

        • vdogg

          agree on all of your points. i will also add that pau is looking like he is past his ankle issues, and that is great news. i think kobe being back on the floor and motivating him, albeit just for six games, was a big help. as we know, this team can play with just about anyone. but now hopefully they have become comfortable with closing out a tight game in the last few minutes (which they did not do vs. SAS and MEM at home this year). when farmar comes back i am assuming he will start. if kendall marshall can run the second unit, that should hold us down until kobe and blake and maybe even nash return. under ideal circumstances, i still think steve blake should be the starter. he was playing fantastic basketball until he got hurt.

          • Paytc

            Good points… it’s very hard to argue against them.

            I think the team is learning to rally together with and without it’s superstars. That should pay off later in the season. This years team all want to play for and with one another. We are starting to find our team identity just before reaching mid season form. Go Lakers !

  • cj

    if houston does not get the trade they want for asik before the deadline i would call them up and make a three team deal.


    lal- lin, asik

    hou- blake, hawes, right to swap pick with the lakers pick

    phi- nash, kaman.

    reason phi does it.
    they need to add salary and get worse this trade does both and it does not hamstring them as nash is likely to retire this off season.

    reason hou does it.
    they want hawes this is a known fact and in this trade they get him. the thing that is holding up the deal is phi does not want to have to pay asik 15 mill next year(8.3 counts towards the cap) and hou wants a first rounder. now houston does not get a first rounder in deal but they could swap picks with the lakers and they also get out of lins deal so it saves them a ton of money next year.

    reason the lakers do it.
    the lakers get to pull a rabbit out of their hat and get two good young players for scraps. lin is an upgrade from nash and blake wile asik is an upgrade from kaman. the lakers would all but take them selfs out of the 2014 free agent class but this would give them a ton of money in 15 were love and mark gasol could be freeagents. the lakers would have to pay lin 15 mill and asik 15mill that season but only 8.3 counts on their deals so they could still be under the tax. they get to keep their first rounder and they could compeat this season and next season.

    • kobe24

      I wouldn’t want Lin nor Asik lol

      • cj

        y? they are both good players.

    • Jose

      I’m pretty sure the 15 million that each player is owed counts against the cap. That’s part of the reason the rockets are shopping Lin. They are going to be way over now that Dwight is there so they need to shed some salary and Lin fits the bill. besides the Lakers can go after Hawes or Monroe in the off season. They don’t need to mess up the team chemistry right now. There have been enough distractions and player shuffling to make trades.

      • cj

        no it does not count against the cap. they signed a 25 million dollar deal for 3 years but it was a poison pill contract meaning if their current teams (new york knicks for lin and chicago bull for asik) matched their offers they would be paid 5-5-15 during the 3 years. they did not match their offers so houston has paid them 5-5-15 still but the cost was broken down into a 25/3 which is around 8.3ish million a season. teams dont want to pay these players 60% of the 3 year contract the signed.

  • Jim213

    The 2nd quarter was one to forget but the team pulled off a win as Pau and Young helped to attain a much needed win down the stretch. But what won the game was defense as though they got out rebounded the Lakers managed to contain the guards (Wolves) to below average numbers. Both of the Bigs (Wolves) 4,and 5 put up good numbers but limiting Rubio and martin was the difference maker IMO.

    Looks like G Man struggled yesterday but they’ll need Hill to do what he do against the Warriors. Seems like the team may had struggled with 3’s at first so likely settled for 2’s more today. However, they’ll need to improve ball rotation (TO’s?) to get everyone involved as it seemed that some players failed to stretch the floor at times given their failure to be in certain spots. Hopefully K Marshall gets some playtime against the Warriors given that the team shouldn’t expect the same time of result against the Warriors today (too many TO’s).

    However, hopefully the coach has watched Thursday’s game Spurs/GSW as San Antonio proved that if a team hustles and plays consistent against the Warriors they stand a good chance to beat them given they mostly rely on jumpers (containment) more so than an inside game which they lack. Thus, out hustle the bigs inside while containing one of the hot hands being Curry or Thompson as when one has a good game the other for some reason ends up having an off night (though be on guard).

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Great defense last night.MDA mentioned he wants this team to be a top 10 defensive team well they can do it,if they put their mind to it and play with a defensive mentality.Lakers beat Minnesota because they played defense.

    • Jim213

      Everyone got tacos today as they managed to hold the Wolves to less than 100 points which them seem to do before Kobe’s return. However, this is due to the team feeding off of one end to the other (team play).

      • LakersHeatBeef

        2 very good defensive performances in a row.Rambis helping out.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Xavier Henry played as good as he could and it was tough to see all those turnovers but once Kendall Marshall gets in their at point guard i look for much better passing and way less turnovers.

    Kendall is a great passer one of kind.It seemed like Steve Blake was taking Kendall under his tutelage last night when he sat next to him and talked to him also Dan D’Antoni seemed to be explaining things to Kendall.I want to see what he brings to this team as i already know what he is capable of doing out on the court.Kendall has great court vision and he hopefully will play.Kendall got multi year deal according to the Lakers website.He is a keeper.

    Watching Chris Kaman back in the rotation was great and he deserves to play every game,Caveman has earned his keep in the NBA and no coach should ever disrespect him by sitting him every game.

    MDA knows it’s time to use all his best players to make the playoffs.Nick Young has been amazing for the Lakers this season,Nick is sixth man of the year so far IMO.

  • Sti1lmatic

    I watched the entire game waiting to see if they’d throw in the new PG K.Marshall. I just wanted him to get one game under his belt to get the early turnovers and errors out of the way.

    Thx Coach

  • LakersHeatBeef

    For all those tankers out there come on guys lets just be happy we have a rich tradition of winning.Why should we let the tanking conversation even begin???We have the best winning % in NBA history and the Lakers have 16 championships and countless Finals appearances and division titles.This upcoming draft has great value passed the top 10.

    Their is a big man that plays for Michigan State Adeian Payne and he is perfect for the Lakers he is the best inside outside big man in NCAA basketball right and he is a Senior and ready to contribute right away unlike many freshman or sophomores.Much like Damian Lillard this Senior will be NBA ready right away IMO.No need to gamble on tanking it’s too risky and it’s cheating.

    Payne is a straight beast.Also Aaron Gordon will be around most likely if we want a Blake Griffin type of Power Forward and he is a Freshman from Arizona with wonderful hops and athletic ability.

    Yes their are also guards we can get later on like Andew Harrison or Gary Harris or Carson so their is absolutely no need to tank at all.Just my thoughts since i see so much negative talk about tanking and all that crap tbh.Lets focus on here and now please.

    Go Lakers!