The Minnesota Timberwolves came in hoping Kobe Bryant couldn't play and expecting Kevin Love being able to go, after suffering a rib contusion Tuesday night vs. the Clippers. Well, Kobe played and Love was out with "flu-like symptoms".
If you need more evidence of the "Effect of Love", tonight was a pretty clear example. The TWolves were beat in the paint and on the boards (we'll get to some full team stats in a moment, though).
Just like that last meeting, the play of the Lakers' "Big Three" (Kobe, Gasol, Bynum) was key for the Lakers as they combined for 59pts, 25rebs & 23-42 FG (55%).
Minnesota fell to 3-9 tonight, with 0 days of rest, while they're 15-9 this season with at 1+ day(s) of rest. The Timberwolves' 85 points is their 2nd lowest scoring output of the season. The lowest being 1/8 vs. the Grizzlies, when they scored 80.
The Wolves' 15 third quarter points is a new season-low. That third quarter is when the Lakers really seized control. They began the third on a 9-0 run and ended the quarter on a 17-5 run to take a 83-59 lead after three quarters. During that third quarter, the Lakers took a 27-point lead, which is the largest deficit the TWolves have faced this season! Previous high is 24 points on 1/10 vs. the Bulls. It's also only the 4th game this season the TWolves have trailed by 20 points or more.
The Wolves were down by 19 points in the final quarter and had battled back a bit, stringing together a run. Apparently Lakers coach Mike Brown decided to put his starters back in with just 6:30 to go (LAL up 70-89). The Wolves basically played their subs for the last half of the third and all of the fourth, we saw Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Randolph & Wayne Ellington, guys who've fallen out of Adelman's rotation.
Kevin Love was out prior to the game with those flu-like symptoms, but they also had two players go down during this one. Luke Ridnour jammed his fingers at the end of the first half, he didn't start the second half, but did return. Adelman said he wanted to go with a bigger lineup to start the second half and THAT was the reason Martell started. J.J. Barea played just 10 minutes and apparently strained his right calf and didn't return at that point.
Let's take a look at some key players' individual stats for each team in tonight's game...
I, like every other TWolves fan, was hoping D-Will & Beas would continue their hot shooting at the Staples Center. That wasn't quite the case. Beas finished with 14 in 24 minutes on 46% shooting & Williams (who started in place of Love) finished with 10 in 23 minutes on 50% shooting. Anytime Martell Webster leads the Wolves in scoring, it isn't likely they're walking away with a W, he did have a solid game tonight, though (those 14pts are a new season-high, previous 11 vs. the Clippers...last night). Nikola Pekovic played the most of any TWolves player: 26 minutes, finishing with 10pts, 7rebs, 1ast & 2stls.
You'll hear plenty from every other website about the "Masked Mamba" and how great he played despite the injury...yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. However, there's just one thing I want to say and I may get laughed at for it: Wesley Johnson played solid D in the first half vs. Kobe. Kobe had just 10pts at halftime. He scored 14 in the 3rd quarter and 7 in the fourth to finish with 31. Bynum's 13 & 13 is his 22nd double-double of the season which is a new career-high for him in double-doubles in a season (previously 21--last season).
Let's take a look at the team stats from tonight's game...
Just like that last meeting, the Wolves didn't shoot a high percentage in any category and the Lakers did! Sure, the Lakers only hit 5 of 21 threes attempted, but their 49% from the field and 41 made field goals was a key in this one for a Lakers win. As I said before, the Lakers beat the TWolves in the paint and on the boards, thanks in large part to the absence of Love. L.A. posted only a +4 on the boards, but owned the paint with a +14.
Some comparison from these two teams' last meeting: the Lakers didn't have any fast break points in that first meeting this season, tonight they had 16! The Timberwolves only turned the ball over 4 times, which led to 4 Lakers' points. Tonight they met that mark in the first quarter and finished with 14 turnovers, allowing the Lakers to score 11 off them.
That's all I've got for now. Check our Injury Report soon for an update on Kevin Love as well as J.J. Barea (and potentially Luke Ridnour). Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!