The (10-2) Los Angeles Lakers are in Minnesota, a state bordering on Lake Superior and on Manitoba and Ontario, Canada to face the (4-9) Timberwolves. Minnesota is the most northerly of the 48 contiguous U.S. states.
Tonight’s match up will be the second game against the Timberwolves in eleven days.
Tonight’s contest completes the Lakers three-game Midwestern road swing. The Purple and Gold are looking to end to this trip 3-0. They were all business in Detroit and completely dominated the Pistons. Lakers jumped out to an early lead, said lead eventually grew to as many as 26-points.
Kobe Bryant set the tone early with 24 first-quarter points, his night ended with 33 and saw him watching the killer “B’s” and other reserves finish off the Pistons in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom produced double-doubles in three quarters of work.
In the previous match up, the Timberwolves put on an inspired effort, kept it close and forced the Lakers to execute down the stretch to avoid disaster and escape with a win. A lot has happened in those previously mentioned 11 days. Kurt Rambis and staff have the young ballers headed in the right direction.
We’ve seen a 30/30 game from Kevin Love; he is averaging 14.3 boards per game, a 42-point outburst by Michael Beasley, he has stretched his steak of 25-plus point games to five averaging 32.6-points. He also made the game-winner against the Clippers with a 33-point effort.
Give Beasley his props for knocking down shots he has been the beneficiary of hot shooting from deep; not from behind the arc, but deep two-point shots from 16-23 foot range.
Ironically opponents have been giving him these long looks and he has made teams pay.
It appears that teams are kind of waiting for him to cool off. It is just a matter of time before defenses will start challenging those shots and forcing him to put the ball on the ground and attack the basket or simply do something else. Tonight is a good night to change the way Beasley will be defended.
The Timberwolves are at home and will play with confidence in front of the home crowd. The Lakers had a bad-shooting night in the previous game, but they’ll shoot better tonight and send the “tonight isn’t your night” message to the Timberwolves. The Lakers front line has to come out aggressive on both ends of the court tonight and play with a high energy level.
The Timberwolves won the battle on the boards in the previous game. Their the second-best rebounding team in the league averaging 46.3 rebounds per game. The Lakers have to return the favor and out-rebound this team and show them why the Purple and Gold are two-time defending champions. The Lakers will win with solid defense an executing on offense.
The Lakers defense needs to improve. They need to control the tempo, do a good job on the screen and roll plays, stop the dribble penetration, rotate out to three point shooters, and challenge every shot. Limit the Timberwolves to one shot per possession.
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)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Knee) Out
- PG Sebastian Telfair (Heel) Listed as Day-to-Day
- SG Wayne Ellington (Thigh) Listed as Day-to-Day
- PG Luke Ridnour (Hamstring) Listed as Day-to-Day