The Lakers traded away longtime Laker and integral part of five Lakers NBA Championships to the Houston Rockets (along with one of the 2012 1st Rd. pick from Dallas) for big man Jordan Hill. Prior to that trade they also made a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers that sent Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a 2012 1st Rd. pick to the Cavs for former TWolf Ramon Sessions and guard-forward Christian Eyenga.
It certainly changes the culture and roster and could very well effect the chemistry of the Lakers, but there's no doubting that L.A. is a better team now.
Perhaps, luckily for Minnesota, none of the Lakers' new acquisitions will play tonight. Sessions & Hill are expected to make their debuts Sunday vs. Utah & Eyenga will likely be sent to the D-League.
The Lakers are 27-16 on the year and 18-2 at home this season. They'll also be going for a season-tying winning streak of 5-straight games as well as an 18th-straight win over our Minnesota Timberwolves (which is the longest active streak of one teams consecutive wins over another). The TWolves are back at .500 after a loss to Utah last night, now 22-22 as well as back to .500 on the road at 10-10. The Lakers are also 7-3 in their last 10, compared to Minnesota at 5-5.
It's likely that with Derek Fisher no longer in L.A. & Ramon not scheduled to begin his career with the Lakers until Sunday, Steve Blake will likely get the start at point guard. The matchups will likely be as follows: Ridnour--Blake, Webster--Bryant, Johnson--World Peace, Love--Gasol, Pekovic--Bynum.
Kevin Love went down with that thumb injury last night that made every Wolves fan watching move to the edge of their seat as we all know, without Love, this team's playoff hopes are grim. Following the game he had an X-ray on the thumb, but everything came back normal and they're reporting it as just a sprained thumb. He's listed as probable for the game, but I'd expect him to play after missing the last two matchups with the Lakers, the first with 'flu-like symptoms' & the other with back spasms. Michael Beasley warmed up yesterday, but didn't play after the pain was too great during warm ups. He bent his big toe back vs. the Suns on Monday and is listed as a gametime decision for this one.
I'm sure there aren't many people that forget that last game vs. the Lakers, when we lost rookie sensation Ricky Rubio to a season-ending torn ACL injury. The Wolves went on to lose that one.
The Lakers' last game was a 107-101 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. The Lakers battled back from as many as seventeen down to force the overtime and outscored the Hornets 14-8 in overtime to escape with a 107-101 victory. Kobe had 33pts, Bynum added 25 & 18reb & Pau had 18pts, 10reb.
If you've read our previous gameday posts this season vs. LAL or more importantly, if you've seen the games, you know the key to tonight's victory is limiting the Lakers' "Big Three" (Kobe, Pau & Bynum). If you can force just one of those guys to have an off-night, you have a VERY good chance of being victorious. They rely heavily on those three to score, rebound, distribute and of course with Pau & Bynum provide tenacious interior defense. No easy task, but the TWolves should be up for it.
That's all for now, tonight's tip is a late 9:30pmCT, nonetheless, we'll still have your full gameday recap following the final horn--right here!
Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!