Feb 4, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) dribbles in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers Lose In Minnesota

Just like the previous game, the Timberwolves starting off white-hot from the field.  Kevin Martin hit a couple of threes early on and the team started off 4 of 4 from the field.  Steve Nash started to look like himself, hitting a 15′ jumper to get started, and ran a clean pick and roll sequence with Sacre for the assist.  It wouldn’t be a Laker game unless there were more injuries.  Jodie Meeks landed on a defender’s foot after his first shot of the game.  There’s one ankle sprain.  Chris Kaman accidentally hit Jordan Hill across the face with an inadvertent elbow.  Now Jordan Hill is out with a possible concussion.  At the end of the first quarter, the score was 38-26. The rout was on.

Jan 26, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Manny Harris (3) shoots the ball during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter started off slowly for the Lakers.  They went through a five-minute dry spell without hitting a field goal.  Then it started.  Steve Nash hit a corner 3-point shot.  Manny Harris hit a corner 3-point shot. Harris found himself open again for another open three in transition.  During an offensive sequence where Steve Blake ran the offense, Harris found himself right beside Steve Nash, and buried the jumper.  He buried another corner jumper as well.  At the end of the second quarter, Harris found himself flying downcourt with under five seconds to go, attacking the basket, drawing the foul, and getting the free throw make.  That was arguably his best offensive output of his NBA career, and his energy helped carry the Lakers from a peak of a 25 point deficit, down to a less intimidating 16 point deficit.  In 9 minutes of playing time, Harris went 5 of 5 from the field, 2 of 2 behind the arc, and finished the quarter with 13 points.  Steve Nash kept looking to find him, and ended up with 6 assists at the end of the 2nd quarter.

The Lakers were getting killed on the backboard.  Halfway through the second quarter, the rebound total was 10 to 1.  Once the starters came back in for the Timberwolves at the end of the second quarter, the Lakers run was mediated, but Kevin Martin and Kevin Love were out there hitting a few more 3-point shots to maintain a large lead.

Into the 3rd quarter, the Lakers came out with energy and began to show their resilience.  Steve Nash and Steve Blake controlled the tempo, and the team was able to cut the lead down to 7 points.  Nick Young stayed aggressive, but couldn’t find his rhythm from the field.  Instead, he was able to draw contact and get to the free throw line.  Harris, now conscious of his good play, came out hesitant to start the 3rd.  However, after a forced turnover, he pushed a fast break and drew a foul on Kevin Martin.  This got his confidence going.  The next sequence, the Lakers forced another turnover, and Harris pushed the ball to get Wesley Johnson a lob dunk.  Kevin Martin hit a few key jumpshots to maintain the lead, but at the end of the 3rd quarter, the Lakers found themselves down 11 points, 89 to 78.

While the Lakers put up a good fight and had the lead cut back down to 8 points, they couldn’t generate any more offense to sustain any kind of run.  In the middle of the 4th quarter, Marshall and Wesley Johnson were missing absolute layups at the rim.  The game was getting too loose and Kevin Love looked like he was playing too physical for the energy on the floor.  He took a hard hit on a drive to the basket, with no malicious intent.

Still, there was no closer for the game.  The Lakers lose, 109-99.

 

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