The 3-10 Minnesota Timberwolves hit the road to take on a struggling Los Angeles Lakers team that is off to the worst in franchise history at 3-12. Despite the return of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference with our Pups. The Lakers lottery pick, Julius Randle broke his leg in the season opener and things have gone from bad to worse for Los Angeles. As you might expect, the Lakers would receive zero pity points from the Wolves, who continue to take the court with a ton of missing pieces.
The Wolves opened up with a returning Mo Williams at PG, Corey Brewer, Andrew Wiggins, Thad Young, and Gorgui Dieng. The Lakers came out with Jeremy Lin, Kobe, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Jordan Hill.
Mo Williams started off the game with the shooter’s touch, scoring 8 of the Pups’ first 13 points. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Kobe was in the zone to begin the game as well. Bryant was all over the court, putting up 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in the 1st quarter. In the final 4-5 minutes of the opening quarter, the Wolves turned the ball over entirely too much (7 in the first quarter) and it led to the Lakes taking a seven point advantage into the second quarter, 30-23.
After falling behind by as many as eleven points, the Wolves went on a small run to cut the Lakers lead down to three, 52-50. The Wolves were led by Zach LaVine and Anthony Bennett, who were the only two players doing much of anything on the offensive end of the court. Heading into a timeout, LaVine had quickly become the Wolves leading scorer with 16 points on 6-7 shooting from the field.
At the half of a relatively exciting and certainly entertaining game, the Lakers held a 58-54 advantage. While the Wolves were heavily relying on Mo Williams, LaVine, and Bennett, the Lakers were getting contributions across the board. Six of the ten players that entered the game had scored at least six points for the home team.
The Timberwolves came out and scored the first four points of the second half to tie the game at 58. From there, the two teams went toe to toe and bucket for bucket throughout an amazing show of offense in the third quarter. Basketball purists may also suggest that NBA team defense regressed 25 years as well. When Wes Johnson is going off, you know there are issues on the defensive end of the court. The Timberwolves outscored the Lakers 39-38 in the third quarter but trailed 96-93 after three quarters.
It looked like the Wolves were in trouble when Nick Young started to get hot and brought the crowd alive in the 4th quarter. However, Mo Williams answered the call with eight straight points for the Wolves and tied the game at 117. The play/sequence of the game followed Williams’ last bucket as Kobe got Andrew Wiggins to bite on a few up-fakes and drew a foul. However, Bryant missed both free throw attempts allowing the Wolves to take a two point lead on a Thad Young bucket. Kobe tied the game at 119 with another basket but the Wolves had five seconds on the clock to get a shot off. Flip Saunders drew up a play for Thad and he drew a foul on Nick Young to go to the free throw line. After missing the first, Young made the second to give the Wolves a 120-119 lead with two seconds left in the game.
Fortunately for the Wolves, Kobe Bryant missed a relatively open three pointer as time expired, giving the Pups the victory, 120-119. After losing 22 straight to the Lakers, the Timberwolves have now won four of the last five.
- The Lakers wore an alternative black t-shirt jersey this evening, which led to the Timberwolves wearing their home white jerseys. The NBA is confusing.
- While Wiggins probably had his worst game of the season Friday night, fellow rookie Zach LaVine finished with a career high 28 points on 11-14 shooting. LaVine of course was returning to the Los Angeles area after his one season at UCLA.
- If it weren’t for LaVine, Mo Williams would easily be considered the player of the game, finishing with 25 points and 11 assists.