L.A. Lakers 105, Minnesota 96
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 10 (Ticker) --
Judging from the start, no one would
have expected a hot shooting night from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite shooting 19 percent in the first quarter, the Lakers got
31 points from Kobe Bryant
and went on to make a 16 3-pointers
in a 105-96 victory over the reeling Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Bryant carried the Lakers early on, scoring nine of Los Angeles'
14 points in the first quarter and 19 by the break, when the
Timberwolves held a 53-44 lead.
"Kobe kept us in the game in the first quarter when everybody
else was missing," Lakers guard Chucky Atkins
The Lakers trailed, 76-67, after three periods but went on a
26-7 run in the fourth quarter to take a 91-83 lead with just
over four minutes to play.
Atkins provided the Lakers with a spark on the offensive end,
scoring all of his 23 points over the final three quarters. He
hit 4-of-10 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and seven
Lakers' coach, Rudy Tomjanovich was not surprised with Atkins
"Chucky is mentally tough. He's a veteran that has been through
the wars," Tomjanovich said. "He kept a positive mental attitude
even when he was missing and went on a streak."
also had a strong game for the Lakers with 14 points
and 17 boards.
For the Timberwolves, it was another blown lead and a failure to
put away a team down the stretch. Minnesota, which has lost six
of seven, led by as many as 16 points and looked like it might
blow out Los Angeles early on, scoring 13 fast-break points in
the opening quarter while building a 27-14 lead.
"We started [the game] playing really well," Kevin Garnett
"Flip always preaches 'get a good shot'. But then we got away
from that and started taking quick shots."
"I'm proud of my team," said Atkins. "Even when we were missing
shots, we kept playing good 'D.' In past games we haven't done
that and we lost. Tonight it allowed us to come back."
Minnesota had no answer for the Lakers' onslaught in the fourth
"We get tentative when they go on runs," Wolves guard Wally Szczerbiak
said. "We stop doing what helped us be successful in
the first place."
"We know better than that," Minnesota guard Troy Hudson
"We have to be more poised than we have been."
Garnett scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Hudson
added 20 points in place of All-Star Sam Cassell
, who missed his
second straight game with a strained right hamstring. Latrell
Sprewell scored 18 points but only four after the break.
The Wolves missed Cassell in the fourth quarter as they shot
8-of-25 from the floor and looked tentative running their
"It's been like that," said Garnett. "We've been beating the
heck out of teams and then they come back and hit shots from
When asked if it was "panic time," Garnett provided an emphatic
"We're a confident team. We're not feeling sorry for ourselves,"
he said. "But it was a tough loss. We're really hungry for a
win right now."