On Friday night the Lakers finished off a three-game road swing by finishing off the Minnesota Timberwolves in convincing fashion, 112-95. The win gave the Lake Show a perfect 3-0 mark on their first road trip of the year as they swept the Mid-West clean with wins in Milwaukee, Detroit and Minneapolis.
As horrendous as the Lakers played the first time they met Minnesota, they were equally as impressive this time around.
Playing like the two-time defending champs they are, the Lakers put away the pesky T-Wolves with a second half that closed out the road trip in style.
Perhaps the best symbol of these two teams was the difference between Matt Barnes and Kevin Love. Last time around the Laker bench was MIA and K-Love had his way. This time around the bench provided an early spark as Barnes couldn’t miss. Everything Matt put up went in as he dropped 24 going 7 of 7 from the field including 5 of 5 from three and 5 of 5 from the line. Love, on the other hand, was shutout. Zero points and 7 boards in 34 minutes is the kind of stat line that reminds Kurt Rambis why he’s still hesitant to let Love log big PT every night.
With six players in double figures, the best offense in basketball was running as smooth as a the 405 at 2am on a Sunday.
No disrespect to Minnesota but this is the type of result we expect of the Lakers.
Credit where credit is due, Darko Milicic had a career night. Perhaps more focused on slowing Love, the Laker defense was defenseless against Darko. Milicic filled the box with 23, 16, 6 blocks and 5 dimes. Somewhere, Joe Dumars wept. And, not to be left out of the pity party, so too did Pat Riley. The man Miami forgot, Michael Beasley, continues his improved play with a 25 and 10 night that looked a little something like the stuff he used to do at K-State.
After dropping two, the Lakers are back on track having won the last three. Up next is Golden State for a Sunday night date. Let’s hope this rediscovered focus remains. The defensive intensity is there. The offensive execution is fantastic and the wins are starting to pile up. With a soft schedule early, these are the type of results the Lakers need.