After a close game that turned into a royal beating to the tune of Miles Davis on Wednesday night, the Lakers are back in action tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is the sixth and final game of the Lakers latest home stand before they travel to Salt Lake City for a rematch with the Jazz on Saturday. Los Angeles enters tonight’s game as incredible favorites considering the Timberwolves are the not-so-proud owners of a 3-17 record, which included a fifteen game losing streak. For first year head coach Kurt Rambis the season has been a constant struggle, as his team has suffered through poor play and bad injuries. On the other side of the court sits the Lakers, who are looking to extend their winning streak to eleven and remain unbeaten since the return of Pau Gasol. These are two franchises that are certainly heading in opposite directions, yet will meet tonight on the floor nonetheless. If the Lakers want to finish with an unblemished home stand, here are a few things that will be crucial in tonight’s game:
- Fight off Complacency – It is very easy for dominant teams like the Lakers to overlook weaker teams such as Minnesota, whereas the Timberwolves understand they will need to play their best possible game to beat the Lakers. If the Timberwolves play hard and the Lakers do not, tonight’s game might be closer than most are anticipating. However, even if Minnesota plays great the Lakers show an underwhelming effort, look for Los Angeles to get by on sheer talent.
- Jordan Farmar – The backup point guard has proved a valuable asset off the bench during the Lakers winning streak, and is quickly changing minds over the future of the Lakers back court. While Shannon Brown has the SportsCenter highlight dunks, Farmar is quickly becoming a spark off the bench and a dependable reserve player. Look to see if he can continue this trend tonight against Minnesota.
- Equilateral vs. Isosceles – This is one of the few times the Lakers will be playing against the triangle offense. Both teams run Tex Winter’s famous offense, so it will be interesting to see how the Lakers stack up against their own formation. While Minnesota doesn’t have nearly the talent the Lakers possess, it will still be fun to watch Los Angeles get a small dose of their own medicine out on the floor tonight.
- Need for Speed – Minnesota is an athletic team that loves to run. The Lakers will need to limit their fast break opportunities while capitalizing on Minnesota turnovers to produce some of their own. The Minnesota offense runs through Al Jefferson, but with the Lakers dramatic size advantage in the post, look for him to have a tough game tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Tip-off: 7:30 PST
TV: FS West, NBALP
Radio: 710 ESPN (NEW home of the Los Angeles Lakers)