Road to the Repeat: One Night Home Stand

Road to the Repeat: One Night Home Stand

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The Lakers (50-18) are back home after their successful 3-game road trip to go against the conference’s worst team, the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-55).

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L.A. is starting to look like the defending champs as each game passes; coming off a 106-99 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday. Marking a four-game winning streak.

Now they’re in a great position to continue the streak to five straight with the Timberwolves coming to town.

The teams last met on December 11th in the Staples Center, where L.A. took a convincing victory over Minnesota, 104-92.

The Timberwolves haven’t had much success this year, currently on an 11-game losing streak. Former Lakers player and assisstant coach Kurt Rambis is still trying to right the ship in his first year as Minnesota’s head coach.

Going against the Lakers is a tough way to pick up the pieces for a young team.

Although this should be an easy game for the defending champs, with Timberwolves’ head coach Kurt Rambis running the triangle offense for his team, they are very familiar with the Lakers’ plays. So this game should still be taken with a sense of urgency.

Expect L.A. to stick with the inside-out game, as Bynum and Gasol are averaging a combined 38.2 points in the last 5 games.

The Lakers’ defense has also been sharp, holding opponents to 44.6 percent shooting as opposed to 48.6 percent during their 3-game losing streak.

Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are the biggest concerns for L.A., as they both posted double-doubles in their last meeting. Love brings Minnesota 14.5 points and 10.9 rebounds off the bench but hasn’t played well during the course of their losing streak, with less than 10 points a game. The wolves will be hoping he can make a comeback and cause a matchup problem for the Lakers with his ability to spread the floor.

Kevin is 39 percent from 3-point territory, so as a team, the Lakers will have to make him take tougher shots with different defensive looks.

PROJECTED STARTERS:

LAKERS:
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

Injuries:
D. Fisher (hip) is day-to-day.
P. Gasol (tonsilitis) is day-to-day.

TIMBERWOLVES:

(C) D. Milicic
(PF) A. Jefferson
(SF) R. Gomes
(SG) C. Brewer
(PG) J. Flynn

Injuries:
S. Pavlovic (calf) is questionable.

NOTES: Andrew Bynum is averaging 17.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in the last 5 games. Pau Gasol is also playing well, averaging 21.2 points on 79 percent shooting in the same span.

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