I could be writing about how the Timberwolves battled back from 18-down to win it. I could be saying they finally halted that awfully long streak to the Lakers. I could say the TWolves are at .500 for the first time in over 5 years. I could say a lot of things. However, I can only say--the Wolves battled back from 18-down to take a lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter only to lose to the Lakers 106-101; extending that losing streak to 16-straight vs. the Lakers and moving to 9-11 on the year.
The Lakers' Big Three led the charge for the Lakers as they shook off the TWolves late. Kobe had no problem scoring over/under/around the likes of Wesley Johnson & Martell Webster. Pau was simply to big for Kevin Love--Love was playing good defense on him, but Pau's got about four inches on Kevin. And for Bynum--even Big Pek had trouble defending him in the post.
The Wolves had their chances down the stretch, but their early play eventually buried them in the end. Just imagine the result--if the Wolves didn't dig themselves into an 18-point hole!?
Let's take a look at some key players stats for each team tonight...
The Timberwolves got another stellar performance from Kevin Love--these big scoring outbursts are no longer a surprise--but becoming expected. Michael Beasley came off the bench for the second-straight game and in 30 minutes he had 18pts & 12rebs and during the second half he actually looked interested in moving the ball around--maybe finally understanding that if he dishes to a teammate--maybe on the next possession--they'll return the favor! Pekovic got his second straight start--with Darko out again. Darko warmed up, but said he felt lightheaded and was unable to play. Pek had another solid game. In just 20 minutes he nearly had a second consecutive double-double (which would have been the third of his career).
For the Lakers, it was their Big Three--headlined by Kobe Bryant--who actually out-rebounded Kevin Love by one board. Gasol also had a huge game and was a big part of the Lakers building that 18-point lead in the first half--as he had 14pts in the first quarter! Kobe Bryant didn't really get going till the second half--as he scored 22 of his 35pts in the final two quarters (13 in the third). The Lakers' "Twin Towers" Gasol & Bynum proved to be too much for the Wolves as they pounded them down low. The Wolves definitely missed Darko's interior presence--but that's about all they missed from Darko.
Let's take a look at some team statistics...
When you look at these stats--Minnesota had a lot of positives AND a lot of negatives. Let's get the negatives out of the way first...shall we? The Wolves were bested in every shooting category. The Lakers made the same number of field goals, but on 25 less attempts! Anytime a team shoots over 50% from the field--they should win the game. They made more threes on less attempts and made two more free throws on the same number of attempts. I still can't believe Minnesota took a season-high 104 attempts! That's just 8 attempts away from a franchise record: 112 attempts--set on Dec. 13th 1991 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Wolves boasted a +11 on the boards and surprisingly they had 16 fast break points AND held the Lakers to 0. They also dominated in the paint with a +14! They had a season-low 4 turnovers--allowing just two baskets off of them! They crushed the Lakers bench by an astounding +27.
Ultimately--when you look at the positives--you realize had they shut down just one of those three guys (Kobe, Pau, Bynum) they could've won this one! They should have won this one!
OTHER NOTES: Brad Miller saw his first game-action this season tonight, playing 8 minutes and scoring 3 points (all at the line 3-4 FT)...This is just the Lakers 2nd road win of the season (2-7)...Tonight was Love's 19th double-double on the year...Martell had 10pts & 5rebs off the bench in 23 min tonight--but did so on 4-15 shooting...
That's all for now. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!