The (42-19) Los Angeles Lakers have returned to the city the franchise called home in the 1940’s and 1950’s; Minneapolis, Minnesota. Known as the “city of lakes” to face the (14-46) Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers won six championships in three leagues to become the NBA’s first dynasty prior to moving to Los Angeles.
The Timberwolves are dead last in the league in points allowed. The Lakers have won both games against the T-Wolves this season. The Lakers have won the season series the last three seasons. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games at the Target Center winning six straight.
During the Lakers 112-95 win on 11/19/2010, Matt Barnes was outstanding. Barnes led the Lakers in scoring with 24 points on a perfect shooting night (7-7 from the Field, 5-5 from 3-point range, 5-5 from the Free Throw line) while grabbing seven boards and handing out six assists in an efficient 24 minutes off the bench.
Matt Barnes is practicing and extremely close to returning. The Lakers have missed his defense, activity level and production off the bench.
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown joined Barnes scoring in double-figures. The T-Wolves are a young and inconsistent team with a lot of their players learning how to play together at the NBA level.
The T-Wolves will put up a fight, but are short on weapons. Their leading scorer and rebounder is Kevin Love and he’s been amazing.
Kevin Love’s streak of double-doubles is one of the most impressive accomplishments in the NBA. The T-Wolves overcame a 14-point deficit to beat the Warriors 26-123 to snap a seven-game losing streak. In the process, he recorded his league leading 46th straight double-double scoring 37 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. It was his fourth 30-point, 20-rebound game of the season.
The T-Wolves lead the league in rebounding at 46.3 per game. They also have a nasty habit of turning the ball over, in their recent win, Minnesota had 20 which resulted in 28 points for the Warriors.
Lamar Odom is the last opponent to stop Kevin Love from achieving a double-double. Odom’s athleticism makes him a tough cover for Love. The Lakers will have to keep a body on him and do a good job of constantly boxing him out to win the rebounding battle.
The Lakers front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom can dominate when given the opportunity. They teammates need to give them several touches in the post.
The Lakers are a rhythm team playing in a good rhythm right now. They renewed commitment to defense has served them well. They need to continue to control the tempo of the game, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, shut down the screen and roll plays, get back in transition, and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, Andrew Bynum
T-wolves: L. Ridenour, W. Johnson, M. Beasley, K. Love, D. Milicic
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Minnesota: KSTC-45 (Tom Hanneman & Jim Petersen)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Luke Walton)
- Minnesota: 1130 AM KFAN (Allan Horton & John Focke)
- Matt Barnes (Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee) Out
- SF Martell Webster (Sore Back) Doubtful