Winning ugly is becoming the norm for the Lake Show. Winning on the road, however, is rare. So you’ll excuse me if I overlook the fact that the Lakers gave away an 18 point lead in the second half, were dominated on the boards and were completely outhustled by the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
Any type of win on the road is a good win for the Lakers this year.
Somehow the Lakers survived a hungry Wolves team that looked unlikely to lose once they got rolling in the third quarter.
These are not your Kurt Rambis T-Wolves. This group has talent, depth and plays with a lot of energy and activity. Consider the fact that the Lakers held Minnesota to 38% shooting for the game yet Los Angeles was owned on the glass as 24 offensive rebounds led to some easy buckets for the Wolves.
But when you’ve got Kobe Bryant almost anything can be overcome.
The Lakers are relying heavily on Bryant to do everything. Tonight they needed his scoring but also needed him to be a beast on the boards. Mamba was more Kevin Love than Kevin Love tonight. KB24 dropped 35 and pulled down 14 boards to boot. That line barely bested K-Love’s 33 and 14 for the evening.
Something the Wolves have that the Lakers don’t is a point guard the likes of Ricky Rubio. Pau Gasol’s fellow countryman was a big reason why Minnesota got back into this thing after going down by 18 in the third.
Rubio’s dimes helped energize the Wolves as they went on a run mid-way through the third quarter before eventually taking their first lead of the game in the fourth.
One of the reasons why the Lake Show had such a big lead was due to the early efforts of Pau. We saw a much different Gasol in Minnesota than the one in Milwaukee.
The Lakers were looking to get their bigs going and Gasol led that charge. He was in double figures in the first quarter finishing with 28 on 11 of 15 shooting. A drastic improvement from his 6 of 18 night in Milwaukee 24 hours earlier.
Problem was the Lakers got away from their size advantage, falling back into their jump shooting habit and before you knew it this was a game again.
Down the stretch we saw more of those same flaws that have led to some painful meltdowns this season. Terrible offense, careless turnovers and a lack of activity gave the Wolves a path to victory.
At least that was until Andrew Bynum got some beast buckets in the paint and Kobe hit some clutch shots from distance.
As usual Kobe, Pau and Drew were the only three Lakers in double figures. Despite their best offensive output in weeks this was not a great offensive game by any measure. Mike Brown put Metta World Peace into the starting lineup for the first time and his production remained the same. Brown is really trying anything and everything with Metta. Let’s hope this move reignites that fire we saw blaze against the Clippers.
With Matt Barnes coming off the bench the second unit production didn’t change at all. Whereas the Wolves can get 18 and 12 from Michael Beasley off the bench the Lakers got a 7 point effort from Andrew Goudelock to lead the way for L.A.’s second unit.
The same problems persist but like I said, never look a road win in the mouth. We’ll take them however the Lakers can get them with the Grammy trip coming up.