Lakers Vs. Timberwolves Preview: D’Angelo Russell And Karl-Anthony Towns, Part II

Lakers Vs. Timberwolves Preview: D’Angelo Russell And Karl-Anthony Towns, Part II

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Karl-Anthony Towns D'Angelo Russell
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will try to bounce back after a 102-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors. In a game that featured Byron Scott’s questionable decision to have Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, the team’s top picks in the last two drafts, come off the bench.

Now, they get ready to face Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves in their sixth of an eight-game road trip. This is the second time the Lakers square off versus the Timberwolves after losing their season-opener in a nail-biter, 112-111.

The Lakers will now try to even the season series and with it, some momentum moving forward as they round out this road trip.

Frontcourt:

The Timberwolves are anchored by a promising young frontcourt, mixed with a a bit of veteran savvy. At center is the No. 1 pick out of Kentucky, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is enjoying himself a solid rookie year, averaging nearly a double-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game.

Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins is having an All-Star caliber season thus far, averaging 21 points and four rebounds per game. Mix that in with the leadership of Kevin Garnett and you have a squad that can compete for that coveted eigth seed in the Western Conference.

Backcourt:

Leading the way as floor general for the Timberwolves is the fifth-year Spaniard, Ricky Rubio. Rubio has been a steady contributor for Minnesota, and this year has maintained his career average of 10 points and eight assists per game.

Rounding out the lineup is the 14-year veteran, Kevin Martin. Martin has established himself as a premier scorer in the NBA over the last decade. Though his numbers have taken a dip due to the reigns being handed over to Wiggins, he is still averaging a modest stat line at 11 points and three rebounds per game.

Keys To Victory:

Limit the Fouls: In the season-opener versus the Timberwolves, the Lakers sent them to the line 37 times. Minnesota was able to capitalize by hitting 31 of them to finish the game at 83 percent from the line. The Lakers ultimately ended up losing by just one point, so saving a couple of trips to the line can really make the difference in case things go down to the wire again.

Stay Active on the Boards: The Lakers actually did a terrific job of rebounding the last time these two teams met. Los Angeles out-rebounded the Timberwolves 51-39, which was really what kept them in the game despite their poor shooting percentage. 15 of those were offensive rebounds, so if they can capitalize more on second-chance points, the Lakers can find themselves in control early on.

Los Angeles Lakers (3-18) Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-12)
5:00 PM PST, December 9, 2015
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Timberwolves Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Kevin Martin
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns

Key Reserves: PG: Zach LaVine, PF: Namanja Bjelica, SG: Shabazz Muhammad

Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Roy Hibbert

Key Reserves: PG: D’Angelo Russell, PF: Julius Randle, PF: Brandon Bass