(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The (11-9) Los Angeles Lakers have traveled to the land of 10, 000 lakes, Minnesota, a state bordering on Lake Superior and on Manitoba and Ontario, Canada to face the (9-10) Timberwolves. Minnesota is the most northerly of the 48 contiguous U.S. states.

The Lakers return home to Minneapolis where the franchise began in 1947 in the NBL. The Lakers, with George Mikan, won five championships calling Minneapolis, Minnesota home.

The travel sick Lakers put on another disappointing performance in Milwaukee lost to the Bucks and now has a record of 1-7 on the road. The Lakers dropped a game tailor-made for their strength, superior size in the low post. The loss further enforced the fact that the injury to Steve Blake has really hurt this team.

Coincidently it proves that this team is in need of another playmaker on the perimeter. The best way to handle the situation is to provide more minutes to Darius Morris, and ramp up the development of the trio of Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Devin Ebanks. The T-wolves are looking to snap a 15-game losing skid to the Lakers. The Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games against the T-wolves. The purple and gold have won seven-straight at the Target Center.

There are several local ties when the Lakers and T-wolves match up. T-wolves forwards Malcom Lee and Kevin Love played for UCLA. Kevin Love’s father, Stan Love, played 81-games for the Lakers in the 1973-1974 & 1974-1975 seasons. T-wolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio and Pau Gasol are both longtime members of the Spanish National team.

At the Target Center tonight, the Lakers are facing a talented young team on a two-game winning streak seeking to even their record. In Milwaukee, Kobe Bryant broke Jerry West’s franchise record for free-throw’s made and is four field goals shy of surpassing the captain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s team mark of 9,935.

The Lakers are seeking balance offensively with multiple players scoring in double digits. The Lakers have gone 14-straight games scoring under 100 points. The Lakers have to do a solid job defending the pick-and-roll play while avoiding the match up nightmare of a seven-footer defending a smaller faster guard.

It is imperative that the Lakers stop the dribble penetration of the guards, defend, control the tempo, and do a better job of boxing their men out and owning the boards. The Lakers have to take better control of the ball and limit their turnovers. It is imperative that the Lakers get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters.

The Lakers bench has to come in a make an impact. The reserves will receive some open looks and have to knock down shots.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Barnes, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
T-Wolves: R. Rubio, W. Ellington, D. Williams, K. Love, N. Pekovic

Tip-off: 4:00 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
  • Minnesota: KSTC-45 (Tom Hanneman & Jim Petersen)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
  • Minnesota: 1130 AM KFAN (Allan Horton & John Focke)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Josh McRoberts (Sprained Left Big Toe) Probable
  • Kobe  Bryant (Torn Lunotriquetral Ligament, Right Wrist) Probable
  • Steve Blake (Bruised Ribs) Out

T-Wolves:

  • Jose Barea (Sprained Left Ankle) Doubtful
  • Darko Milicic (Illness) Day-to-Day
  • Michael Beasley (Right Mid-Foot Sprain) Doubtful
  • Malcom Lee (Torn Meniscus, Left Knee) Out
  • Brad Miller (Micro fracture Surgery on Left Knee) Doubtful
  • Luke Ridenour (Sore Left Knee) Questionable
  • Martell Webster (Microdiscectomy Surgery) Questionable