The Minnesota Timberwolves traveled west to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers. Minnesota had lost ten straight games to the Lakers coming into this one. That combined with the Lakers current 7-0 record left little hope for Minnesota, but that’s why they play the game.
The Lakers started the game out with the first points of the game, but then cooled off. Minnesota managed to steal the lead shortly, but after Pau Gasol got going the Lakers stormed back on top. After the Timberwolves claimed a 9-8 lead, Los Angeles rallied off a 9-0 run to push the lead to 17-9. While most of Lakers Nation felt the Lakers would put the undermanned T-Wolves away, nobody told Minnesota.
Another quick spurt put Minnesota back on top 25-21, as Phil Jackson went to his bench in an effort to bring some much needed energy. Much to the surprise of everyone, the first quarter ended with the Minnesota Timberwolves leading the Lakers by two points.
The second quarter looked very similar to the first, except with different players on the floor. A gaggle of bench players took the floor to start the quarter, and they seemed to follow the same script we saw in the first. Several lead changes and sloppy play resulted in some ugly basketball. The Lakers pushed their lead to four early in the quarter, but Minnesota didn’t waver.
For the second half of the second quarter the Lakers looked to old reliable to help fight off the pesky Timberwolves. Kobe Bryant led all players on the floor in scoring at the half, going into the locker room with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Los Angeles led Minnesota at the half, 58-52.
By the time the third quarter got rolling it was beginning to seem redundant. The Lakers and Timberwolves battled in a tough game, with neither team being able to pull ahead. Sloppy play from the Lakers allowed Minnesota to stay in the game, even taking the lead at several points during the quarter.
You got the feeling that this was the type of game that Los Angeles could have put away with a little additional effort. Minnesota was outworking the Lakers and it was evident. The game was very similar to last Friday’s effort agains the Raptors, which was a very ugly game that resulted in a win for Los Angeles. By the end of the quarter the Lakers had established a bit of a lead, heading to the fourth quarter leading the TImberwolves, 82-74.
The fourth quarter started with some Minnesota momentum, after a Maurice Ager buzzer beater at the end of the third halted a Lakers run. The sloppy play continued, but L.A. was able to maintain a higher point advantage. The lead fluctuated between 4-7 points for most of the quarter, and the Lakers were flirting with disaster.
At the end, though, the Lakers just had too much talent for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The back to back defending champions may have played an ugly game, but they still escaped with a victory. After the very encouraging performance against Portland on Sunday night, the Lakesr went back to their dismal, half-hearted efforts tonight versus Minnesota. If history repeats itself, Los Angeles should rebound with a steady effort on Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets. However, the Lakers will cross that bridge when they come to it, but for tonight the Lakers defeated the Timberwolves, 99-94.