TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Timberwolves – Enough to Get By (94-99, Win)

High on a dominant win against the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday, the Lakers should have won this game easily. Maybe they didn’t want to show up their former assistant coach, Kurt Rambis. Maybe they know they can still get by with just a few players turned on. Or maybe they need to start thinking like defending champions again.

This game produced a long list of coulda, woulda, shouldas – could’ve created more quality shots; would’ve had a better scoring percentage; should’ve rebounded more. In the end, the Lakers got what they wanted – another win, and the fans got what they wanted – a still perfect record. But in between these wants remain a laundry list of items to work on. #1 on the list should be FOCUS, no matter the opponent. Just as they played against Toronto, dumbing down their game against lower-tiered teams, so they appeared to do against Minnesota.

23 points, 24 rebounds – It looks like Pau Gasol’s stat line, or maybe Lamar Odom’s or possibly Kobe Bryant’s. It’s Kevin Love’s stat line and 24 boards (11 on the offensive end) for an opposing player is too much to give up. Gasol had just three boards for practically the entire first half and in the end, the Lakers were outrebounded 54-42 (26-14 offensive).

As much of a factor (or more like THE factor) as Gasol (18 points on 8-13, 10 rebounds) has been the last few games, he was a non-factor in the first half of this game. He did not appear himself tonight, unable to catch and then hold on to passes that came to him, unable to pass properly out of double teams, and absentee effort on the glass.

Lamar Odom, plagued with fouls (he reached five before the end of the game), could not find a rhythm in his shot until the second half, but still managed a respectable 15 points on 7-12, eight rebounds, three assists and a block).

Kobe Bryant, on fire before the second half, produced 23 first half points and finished with 33 for the night. He shot from everywhere – downtown, mid-range, at the hoop. It was a sight for sore eyes watching him move and shoot seemingly without pain.

Yes, last Friday’s game against the Raptors seemed to challenge the Lakers enough to play an almost perfect game against Portland (and for the rest of the season, we hoped). It was probably the team’s most well-rounded game so far. But it’s a long season and as perfect as we’d like the Lakers’ record to remain, it’s an unrealistic expectation. There will probably be more games where the Lakers appear disinterested as they appeared this evening, but there will also be games where the Lakers will dominate. The hope is always that they play the right way, but in the meantime, 8-0 is not a bad way to start.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
This SHOULD be an easy game to win, but the last time anyone thought that, the Toronto game happened. Let’s just hope for the W.
Half-time Thoughts: 52-58 – Well, thank goodness Kobe Bryant’s playing. He’s actually the only one who seems mildly interested in winning this game, as does Matt Barnes, who’s been a spark off the bench. Bryant’s got 23 points in the half. At the rate and quality of the Lakers’ play in the first half, we may be looking out for a 40-point night.
Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom – Maybe they exhausted themselves after that triple-double and double-double performance against Portland on Sunday, because tonight, Mr. Consistency and Mr. Versatility didn’t join the party until well into the second half.
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, of course. Sensing that his team needed him, he poured in 33 points and grabbed six rebounds. For the Wolves, Kevin Love absolutely went out there and reminded Coach Rambis exactly what he can do – 23 points, 24 rebounds (11 offensive), five assists and a block. If tonight doesn’t get him more playing time, who knows what will.

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • Robert.

    Slightly painful game. But I was sure they would win, even when they were up only 2 points. Crowd was probably unhappy Kobe missed one of his 2 last free throws, and so they didn’t get their tacos (geez, just stop off at Jack in the Box, and get ‘em yourselves – they’re only 99 cents).
    .
    Anyway, Kobe knows when to take over a game. There was quite a bit of ‘sloppy’ play (turnovers, etc.). Lamar was actually sort of ‘proud’ of Kevin Love, who was on his World Championship Team this year – Lamar was the ‘elder veteran’, and helped Kevin raise his skills a notch. Kevin had a 20/20, which is quite an accomplishment. Lamar’s level of play has also gone up since the FIBA games.
    .
    Luke got a nice 3 pointer.
    .
    OK, not much to say about this game. What was just as important is the heat losing to the Jazz. That’s the ’2nd’ Western team the heat can’t beat. The West is the best (ask Jim Morrison). The East is the L’East. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. Apparently, the crowd at Staples cheered when they heard the heat’s score (they were actually happy the Jazz won).

    • ruxpin810

      i agree with everything else you said, but like many other laker fans, you are misinformed with the tacos deal. the lakers don’t need to score 100 points, they just need to win and hold their opponents to under 100 points. i was at the game last night and got my free tacos coupon =)

      • j

        And those 99 cent tacos become quite a deal when you have about 20 coupons, he he he

      • Robert.

        ruxpin, thanks! I thought it was an over/under (Lakers over 100, opponents under 100). Thanks for the clarification, and glad you and everyone got their tacos!

  • http://www.findmorefreedom.com moorepower310

    I really don’t care too much if the Lakers seem disinterested and play a little easy against little teams. First off imagine in bynum was in even if he plays with as little intensity as everyone else. That will clean up some rebounds and second; you and I both know that if this was the playoffs the Lakers would have won by 25+ points. They know its a long season so they don’t need to play hard and get hurt.

  • lakerman1

    The lakers will have games like this from time to time. There were a lot of silly turnovers but it happens. I can live with that so long as we get the win. Klove was at home and wanted to show the coach look what i can do when i get the minutes and no other oppossing coach knows the lakers tendecies like Rambis. I am sure the motivational speech Kurt asked Magic to give the Wolves also helped. Next up the Suns & 9 & 0.

  • 242LakerFan

    These games annoy me to no end. There seem to be a half dozen of these a year, when some team the Lakers should just shellac comes in and out-hustles, outworks and out-muscles this team. The effort on the boards and on interior defense was sorely lacking. The paint should be ours on any given night, even without Drew in there, but no one seemed interested in defending it last night. This game was frustrating beyond belief.
    That being said, I actually don’t feel too bad today because this was the type of game the Lakers would, in the past few years, let slip away and never even worry about it. But here we are, 8-0.
    And of course Utah beating Miami mitigated a lot of my frustration as well. Thanks, Jazz.
    Hollinger just got that much more irrelevant.

  • Mile HIgh

    The Lakers will lose by double digits on Thursday!!

    • 242LakerFan

      You just keep telling yourself that.

    • LakersFirst

      Hey, when is Carmelo leaving that sh*t Denver team? HAHAHA

      Ya know the Nuggets are like the Sacramento Kings when the Lakers played them during their first 3peat. So close to being a championship team, then the Lakers strolled in and took them out and sent them back to being an expansion team. Get ready for your Nuggest to go back to being an expasion-like team. LOL

    • laffs atu

      hey your denver team got creamed well by indiana… how does it feel?

  • willmo

    Last night was simply an overlooked game just like last friday. Phil will come in and get a good practice today and they’ll go into Denver and take care of business. Nice to see that this won’t be a back to back in Denver like it is every yr and they only play 3 qtrs. A win is a win right Miami? I’m sorry I thought with 30 seconds left the mighty big 3 would take care of business but I guess they just “Need More Time” to get it right but yet when they blow out powerhouses like the Sixers and Nets that thought is overlooked.

    • 242LakerFan

      Man, when you ain’t clutch you just…ain’t…clutch.
      Right Hollinger?

  • Mile HIgh

    Anyone notice that Kobe was crying like a baby last night? Does he expect to shoot free throws everytime he touches the ball?

    • 242LakerFan

      No, but if they’re gonna constantly compare him to MJ, you’d think the ref’s would at least give him one or two calls when he’s getting knocked around in the paint like a freakin’ pinball. If he got calls like MJ or LeBandwagon, he’d be pushing Malone and Kareem’s numbers by now.

      • Mile HIgh

        The reason why they dont give him fouls is because he gets away with a lot of offensive fouls.

        • 242LakerFan

          Right, and MJ and LeBandwagon NEVER got away with ANYTHING right? (Why am I wasting my time with this guy? The thin Denver air has obviously over-thinned the blood supplying his brain.)

    • http://espn.com LakersFirst

      I didn’t notice that. But what I did notice was the Lakers won and are 8-0 :)

    • Showtime4eva

      Sounds like your the only one crying

  • lakerman1

    Kobe was getting hammered in the 4th and should have gotten a couple of calls. It appears the Refs are not blowing the whistles as much so far and as long as the same is allowed on the other end its ok. Game’s where the players are constanly marching to the free throw line because of ticky tack calls does slow the game and does not allow for any rythm. But Kobe did have a right to be upset in my opinion. Its clear he should have gotten that last no call because he was getting jacked.

  • eazyE

    disappointing game..

    let me just start off by saying EVERY SINGLE GAME SHOULD BE A STATEMENT GAME!!

    i dont know about all of u but i have high expectations for our LAKERS..dont want to be nit picky bc it is a longgggg season..i understand that your not going to be on every single game but if i see the HEAT and MAGIC blow out the WOLVES out by an avg of 36pts dammit i expect our team to blow these scrubs out by 50.

    call it pride but i dont want to be second to no one..

    GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES…dont be crying to the refs about no calls…go out and play! every single possession, every single quarter/half.

    HEY LAKERS! all we want as LAKER fans is to see you play hard. THAT’S IT. and we can ALL (at least the real LAKER diehards) tell when your dragging ass…YOU’RE THE BEST TEAM IN THE ASSOCIATION…PLAY THAT WAY!!!

    • le-elbow =)

      well uh we’re undefeated, soooo in actuality we’re actually first, we aren’t second to anyone

      and dude seriously calm down it’s the beginning of the season, we have 74 other games plus post season(which is actually the most significant when they should play like they’re the best) to worry about, this win was messy, yea so what there’s going to be more messy wins lakers wouldn’t be lakers if they didnt have messy wins, this actually helps the team because it gives them an area to focus and improve on, so seriously dude calm down its the timberwolves

    • gameplan

      the celts beat miami with lebron, but lose to cleveland w/out lebron. Everyone has a given night but not for the lakers last night…Lakers know who are they going to play with,plus that was just phils respect to kurt, not to blow them out..

  • j

    Just remember it’s an extremely long season. The Lakers just played their 8th game with 74 more regular season games to go, and then at least 16 more wins AFTER that.

    It’s not a sprint folks, it’s a marathon…and if they burn out in the first half of the season cuz they went 110% every game, none of us would be too happy.

    I’m sure many of us show up to work, or have days when you’re just not all there, or you’re a little out of it. Seems like it was one of those games for our Lakers. And if you’re gonna let up just a little, why not against the worst team in the league? Granted, it can turn around and bite you where the sun don’t shine, but….you gotta be able to take a breather somewhere.

  • http://57.amklac/ laffs atu

    kobe still jacking up shots like he is mj.he needs to shut up every time he drives to the hoop yelling HEY.that wuss needs to take the hits like a man.

    • Mile HIgh

      I AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://espn.com LakersFirst

      Another thing I noticed is that the Lakers won and are 8-0

      • 242LakerFan

        Ohhh, yeeeeaaahh….

    • Ruin818

      Ofcourse you would know about taking your “hits” from behind like a “man” wouldnt you?

  • John Kim

    i’m sick of everyone commenting on miami…who cares? they’re just another team….focus on the Lakers…WHO CARES ABOUT MIAMI!!..IMO i hope they do well so that when we beat them there won’t be any excuses…so please, lay off the miami comments…we get enough of it on every sports show….GO LAKERS!

    • le-elbow =)

      thank you

  • JMEGA

    I couldn’t agree more with EazyE.

  • http://57.amklac/ laffs atu

    8-0 playing a bunch of lousy teams.when does the real season start for the fakers?stern kissing up to them fakers again just like in the finals.

    • Showtime4eva

      What’s your teams record? They are ALL lousy teams compared to us. How’s that elbow ? Chokitus acting up this early?

    • NBAmazingKB24

      what super teams have your team won?

      Miami
      4 of their 5 wins came from Minnesota, Philadelphia and New Jersey x2 Great teams they won against yeah?… lost to a DECENT team yesterday, blowing a big ass lead. geez two thumbs up for your team. So when is the real big 3 going to step up ? You guys need to be really kissing sterns ass asap. Times ticking and nothing is impressive about your team.

      • si pepe

        owned again..we still laff at them anyway.

  • http://espn.com LakersFirst

    Last time I checked, the West coast teams, which the Lakers have played more of, have more wins than the East cost teams.

    If you look at this page, http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/standings, you will see that the west has 7 teams that are above .500 while the East have 5 (and 3 of those teams are in the Souteast). Please also note that the two undefeated teams are in the West, where there are more teams above .500 than the east. And as mentioned, the west have more wins than the east.

    Also, because you seem like a c*cksucker, you must be a Suckdic fan. Look at the division they are in. The Atlantic division where they are up against the Knicks, 76ers, Nets and Rapots – all those teams are below .500. In the Lakers conference at least the Warriors are above .500 (5-2) and the Kings are at least at .500 (3-3).

    So give me another excuse c*ocksucker. LOL, LOL, LOL

  • Robert.

    The new ‘no complain’ rule is working well for the refs and the SBA (Stern Basketball Assoc.). Kobe is getting hit ‘hard’, no fouls are called, and the refs are happy that Kobe isn’t complaining.
    .
    It’s going to change the game in a bad way. It’s like that umpire who made a ‘bad call’, and cost that pitcher the perfect game this year (which the deserved to win, actually).
    .
    Meantime, if anyone ‘breathes’ on LeChoke and DWon’t, there will be fouls galore.
    .
    SBA wants to level the playing field, by letting the opponents hammer Kobe illegally. I hope someone (Phil?) makes a statement later on (it cost’s him 20+K, so he’s probably going to reserve that for ‘important’ games).

    • daboss1848

      sounds alot like whining . . .
      .
      PG avg 7.2, KB avg 5.9 FTs per game – not bad for a guy who usually settles for jumpers . . . perhaps it’s too hard for the refs to filter out what is a true foul in KB’s case b/c he verbally flops on practically every shot attempt (and we all know the story of the boy who cried wolf, i hope).
      .
      DWill – 6.8, LBJ – 10.0
      .
      another year of reading excuses, explanations, justifications, blame, etc.?!?!
      .
      get over it . . . they are professionals (refs and players), some calls are made right, some are made wrong, some are missed – theyre all human, nature of the game, enjoy it, relax, w/o the sba u’d be waking up at 2 am to watch games on PBS

      • Boococky

        Why are you on this site? All you do is talk shit about the lakers, especially kobe.

    • Robert.

      oh, whining, eh?
      .
      juuuuusst getting started :)
      .
      (the SBA needs me to complain, since the players are not allowed to).
      .
      Do you work for the SBA?

    • Robert.

      In the game “I saw” last night, there were at least 3 plays, in which Kobe was surrounded by ‘at least’ 3 wolves ‘hacking’ at him. Kobe attempting to throw up a shot, and no foul being called. 3 plays. So, each time Kobe attempted a shot, the 3 wolves surrounding him didn’t touch him at all, right? I can’t believe that.
      .
      If it happens ‘occasionally’, I don’t care. If it happens 3 times in a row, then … it becomes the ‘theme’ of the game. Let the players ‘play’ (which is what the refs are conscientiously doing this year, btw). But it doesn’t HELP Kobe, because he’s a moving target. It happens ‘once in a while’ to a nobody, but now it’s ok for players to triple team Kobe, hack, and see what happens, and … get away with it like last night.
      .
      This is NOT last year. This is a new year, and new rules of the game. It does NOT work in Kobe’s favor. So, I think that at least bloggers on this site need to realize this, even if the SBA won’t admit it, and the players have NO leverage (no checks and balances for ‘refs calls’ – they are given free tickets now).
      .
      Sorry, it’s not fair for ‘targets’ like Kobe.

      • daboss1848

        u were’nt kidding when u said u were just getting started . . . the boy who cried wolf – re-read it.

      • Robert.

        ah. you said ‘verbally flops’. That’s a good metaphor. Yes, he probably complains more than necessary, but now it doesn’t matter. In fact he’s complaining less (to avoid T’s).
        .
        Still, it’s good for ‘someone’ to tell the refs to pay more attention, which is probably what he was doing by talking more to the refs (and, we don’t know everything he was or is saying to the refs).
        .
        So, if they don’t do their job well, and there’s no review to keep the refs in check, it’s ‘still’ not good for Kobe whether he runs his mouth off or not.

  • Mile HIgh

    Hey Anna,
    Why dont you post the comments that Kobe said about Phil? Kobe is so fake. He thinks he is a bad ass. If he is so bad why did he get his ass kicked by Reggie Miller!

    • LakersFirst

      You mean Reggie Miller who ZERO NBA titles and Kobe Bryant who has 5 NBA titles. HAHAHA.

      Everything you say is meaningless because the Lakers are the Back to Back NBA Champions and Kobe Bryant has 5 rings.

      BTW: How many NBA championships do the Nuggets have? I think its the same as Reggie Miller

    • 242LakerFan

      Shouldn’t you be whining with the rest of the shallow-breathers on pleaseohpleasemellodontleaveuslikelebronleftcleveland.com?

    • laffs atu!

      Are You for real!!! Mile High apparently did not watch the 2000 Finals, and witnessed Kobe dominate Reggie. Kobe took over the game when Shaq ether fouled out or was struggling. Kobe was Mr. Clutch in game 4 when Shaq fouled out, and then took over in game 6 to end Reggies chances for his first ring. Mile High, apparently your head is in the clouds!

    • showtime4eva

      after we kick your ass tonight,you can change your name back to laffs atu

      • 242LakerFan

        Unfortunately, this is NOT laffs atu. This guy punctuates and uses proper sentences, including capital letters. He’s just light-headed from the altitude.

  • le-elbow =)

    mile high is just another laffs but just not as desperate for kobe’s penis, well actually he’s proving me wrong, just another deep down kobe lover who tries to make arguments without any facts, so until he can make an argument with a valid point he will not generate a response from me because all he wants is attention, granted mile high and laffs makes this blog very humorous, here’s to you mile high and laffs, i look forward to seeing your future irrelevant rants in the future