GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Minnesota Timberwolves 33 25 20 24 102
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 21 28 29 27 105


Bryant's 34 points lift Lakers over Wolves

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI


Posted Mar 09 2012 7:50PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 34 points and Andrew Bynum added 26 points and 10 rebounds to lift the reeling Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Bynum dominated the smaller Wolves down low and Bryant made four free throws in the final 16 seconds for the Lakers, who beat the Timberwolves for the 18th straight time.

Derrick Williams had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 25 points and 13 boards for the Wolves, who found out less than 30 minutes before the game that leading scorer and rebounder Kevin Love could not play because of back spasms.

The Wolves had a chance to win it down one with 16 seconds to go, but Williams' drive to the basket was blocked by Pau Gasol. Williams wanted a foul but didn't get the call.

At 33 years old and in his 16th season, Bryant doesn't dunk as often as he used to. But he broke out a couple in the second half to energize the Lakers. The first came on a fastbreak in the third quarter that got them rolling. Then he blew by Luke Ridnour for another with 3:06 to play that put them up 97-95 and set up a heart-pounding finish.

Bynum converted an alley-oop to make it 99-95, but the Wolves came right back with a layup from Pekovic and a 3 from Luke Ridnour that gave them a 100-99 lead with 1:33 to play.

Bynum was credited with a bucket on a goaltend from Williams with 34 seconds to go.

Pekovic tipped home a missed layup from Williams and Bryant scored two free throws for a one-point lead with 16.4 seconds to go.

Williams crashed to the lane and appeared to draw some contact from Gasol, but Bryant corralled the rebound to save the Lakers.

Ricky Rubio had 15 points, 10 assists and four rebounds, but had to be carried off the court in the final 16 seconds after his left knee buckled.

Michael Beasley scored 15 points for the Wolves and Gasol finished with 12 points and 11 boards.

The Lakers limped into Target Center on Friday night with a 6-14 record on the road, including ghastly losses at Washington and Detroit earlier this week. They gave away a 21-point lead against the Wizards on Wednesday night, with Bryant missing more shots than Bynum and Gasol attempted in the game combined.

They were just as sluggish early against the Timberwolves, falling behind by 14 points in the first quarter before Bryant got it going in the third. He scored 14 points in the period, hitting two 3s, throwing down a dunk and then finishing with two free throws to tie the score at 78 going into the fourth.

There was a ton of juice in the building before the game, with the team draping white t-shirts over every seat for a "whiteout" event. But all that buzz turned into nervous energy when Love didn't accompany the team to the court for pregame warmups. Even once the game got going and the Wolves stormed out of the gates, it seemed like the crowd had one eye on the action and one on the tunnel hoping the All-Star would come running out to get in the game.

Love never did make it out of the locker room, but Williams sure put on quite an impersonation.

The No. 2 overall pick took it strong to the rim and asserting himself on the glass. Williams scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first quarter to instill some more confidence and calm in a young team that was without its leader.

NOTES: Bryant surpassed 29,000 career points with 12 in the first half. ... Wolves PG J.J. Barea missed the game with a sprained left ankle. ... Lakers coach Mike Brown at shootaround: "The white t-shirts are pretty."


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited





View More Photos


Points Bryant 34, 11-26 FG
Rebounds Gasol 11, 3 OFF 8 DEF
Assists Blake 5
Steals 5 tied with 1
Blocks Bryant/Gasol 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

On tonight’s game:

"I thought we came out, we were a little flat, turning the ball over and gave them confidence early. They showed some toughness, they showed some togetherness, they showed some resolve, and when I say toughness there was mental and physical toughness to continue to stay strong throughout the course of the basketball game and to come up with a win. We changed coverages quite a bit, especially on pick-and-roll, obviously we changed rotations tonight, but our guys just kind of stuck with it, stuck with it, stuck with it. No matter what was thrown their direction, they just handled it without getting out of kilter. That's the sign of a veteran team. Obviously we had a lot of good performances from a lot of different guys. Kobe was Kobe with the 34, and both of our bigs stepped up really big with each one of those guys getting a double-double. Fisher picked up the early fouls and so we sat him a bit, but his three 3's in the third period were huge for us in helping our guys continue staying the course and believing what we had out on the floor with them."

On Bynum's rim-running...

"Yeah, if this wasn't his best it has got to be in the top three. Andrew Bynum is very aggressive in our early game and that's the reason why we run our offense like we do. We've got two skilled seven-footers and if they bust their behinds on the floor, it's hard to double-team if you rim-run and sit down at that size because you're playing four on one in basketball. Andrew did it tonight, and it's fun to watch."

On their disappointing road trip ending with a win...

"It's the resolve that I was talking about. This team has a lot of resolve. They showed the mental toughness and the togetherness that our need to have to play in a difficult environment. I give all our guys all of the credit in the world for the way that they stayed the course throughout the ball game."

On giving Josh McRoberts fourth quarter minutes...

"I thought overall as a group we were a little flat and I just felt his energy and his toughness and all of that other stuff might jump-start us a little bit. In the first-half when we threw him in the game he did just that for us. He played well in the game even if his stats don't register."

On the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, with them coming to LA on Sunday...

"We played them once and everyone makes a huge deal of it, which is fine. I'm going to enjoy this one and then think about the Celtics on the way home."




Andrew Bynum:

On being happy about the win, but discouraged about the game...

"We're supposed to beat these teams especially that we have just played, quite handsomely. We just have to move on. We've got the Celtics game coming up with Boston and we really have to just play some defense. It's going to be a defensive struggle like it was in Boston."

On the team's play on the road...

"We just need to play hard the whole time. Like I said, when they are good teams they get that change in momentum because their crowds are the ones who get them into it. We get up and have to take their crowd out of it; that should be our goal."

On his rim-running...

"I made one really good play, it just so happened to occur at the end of the game. Other than that, I could do a better job defensively."




Pau Gasol:

On playing against Rubio...

"It's just fun, it's special, it's nice; to see a friend and a teammate and a countrymen playing at the highest level and playing well and having a lot of minutes. I was happy to see him do well today, it's been a while since he has recorded a double-double and he got one today. I hope his knee is okay. Other than that, it's always nice to play against my fellows. We talked a little bit before the game, said 'Hello, how are you doing? Good luck in the game.' Stuff like that."




Rick Adelman:

On tonights game:

"It's a tough loss. Our guys played well, played hard, and just couldn't finish it off. It's too bad, but the effort was there, if we had that effort all the time we'd be fine."

On the Wolves' strong start to the game...

"We moved the ball and played with a lot of energy. That's what we have to do."

On whether Rubio is hurt...

"I don't even know what he did."

On Rubio's strong game...

"He played well. Everybody who played played well. We did what we had to do, they stepped up playing that team, and you get down to the end where we're at a bit of a disadvantage. They have the name power and they have the experience. We did a lot of good things."

On Kevin's back...

"It wasn't good yesterday, and then he had spasms today. He fell down in the game Wednesday and he felt sore today. Hopefully he will get better before the game tomorrow, but we wanted to play it safe."




Michael Beasley:

On tonights game:

"I mean, we played well. But, I feel like we let them get rolling in the 3rd quarter. A team like that, once they get everything moving around it's pretty hard to stop them. I feel like we held our own, we gave ourselves a chance to win it, just didn't get that call we wanted."

On taking this positive as a team without having Love in the game...

"Yea definitely, we didn't have our leading scorer/leading rebounder and I feel like D-Will came out of his shell, he kind of carried us tonight with big baskets, big rebounds, a couple of stops. He did what he felt was right at the end of the game, which was try to draw a foul. Unfortunately, he didn't get the call, but I feel like it was a smart play."




Derrick Williams:

On his last play...

"I just tried to make a play down the stretch, just tried to attack the basket. The ref said that he put his hands straight up in the air, but I thought he came down on my arms a little bit. Just tried to make a good play, make it to the basket. I think we were down one or two points at that point and to not settle. Don't want to settle at that point; don't have a lot of time left."

On thinking that he'd make the basket...

"Yea, I thought I was pretty much wide open besides Pau Gasol: 7-1, you can't do too much about that. But at the same time, like I said, trying to get to the basket and get contact--trying to finish the play."






Lakers-Timberwolves Preview

By MATT BECKER


Posted Mar 08 2012 4:23PM

Meetings between the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves have resulted in nothing but wins for Kobe Bryant and company for quite some time.

With the way the Lakers' three-game road trip has started and the Timberwolves' recent success at home, however, Minnesota seems capable of earning its first victory in the series in five years.

Bryant and the Lakers try to bounce back from another loss to an inferior opponent Friday night when they face the Timberwolves, who are seeking its first six-game home winning streak in eight years.

The Lakers (23-16) are percentage points behind the Clippers in the Pacific Division, but would be in first place if they could find ways to win on the road. They're tied for the league's second-best home record at 17-2, yet have the ninth-worst road mark at 6-14.

Los Angeles hit the road after Sunday's 93-83 victory over Miami, but any momentum gained from that win quickly disappeared in an 88-85 overtime loss to Detroit on Tuesday. It looked like the Lakers would easily put that behind them the next day in Washington, taking a 21-point lead in the third quarter. Los Angeles stunningly fell apart, however, and the Wizards rallied to hand the Lakers a 106-101 defeat.

Bryant finished with 30 points but missed nine of 10 shots in the final quarter for Los Angeles.

"Our mindset right now to play on the road is not what it should be," said coach Mike Brown, whose team allows an average of 96.2 points on the road - 9.3 more than it gives up at home.

It typically hasn't mattered where Los Angeles faces Minnesota (21-19), however.

The Lakers have won 17 straight over the Timberwolves since a 117-107 double-overtime loss March 6, 2007. It's the NBA's longest active winning streak by one team over another.

Los Angeles beat the Timberwolves 104-85 on Feb. 29 in its first game after the All-Star break. Bryant was cleared to play shortly before the opening tip after sustaining a broken nose and a concussion in the All-Star game, and wearing a protective mask, piled up 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Andrew Bynum added 13 points and 13 boards and Pau Gasol scored 15 against a Timberwolves team playing without Kevin Love (flu).

The Lakers also won in Minnesota on Jan. 29, but it wasn't easy. Bryant had 35 points and 14 rebounds along with two clutch jumpers in the final 1:16 of a 106-101 victory. Gasol added 28 points and Bynum chipped in 21.

Minnesota is 7-3 at the Target Center since that defeat and riding its first five-game home winning streak since 2006-07.

The Timberwolves, 22-60 at home over the previous two seasons, defeated Portland 106-94 on Tuesday and are trying to win six in a row in Minneapolis for the first time since March 21-April 12, 2004.

"I don't think anybody can really say that we're the laughingstock of the NBA anymore," swingman Wes Johnson said. "If you come in here thinking that, you're going to catch an 'L' real quick."

Johnson had a season-best 19 points and shot 8 of 11 on Tuesday while Love finished with 29 points and 16 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won three in row to move into eighth place in the Western Conference. Love is averaging 36.7 points and 14.3 boards in the last three and had 33 and 13 against the Lakers in January.

"We're talking about the fact that we're relevant right now," coach Rick Adelman said. "We've made a run here that got us to that position. We can win games and we can stay right there."

Adelman is hopeful starting center Nikola Pekovic, averaging 12.3 points and 7.1 rebounds, can return after missing two games with a sore right foot.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #4 Johnson  
  #16 GasolPF #42 Love  
  #17 Bynum C #14 Pekovic  
  #24 Bryant SG #13 Ridnour  
  #2 Fisher PG #9 Rubio  



Lakers Steve Blake
(costochaondral fracture) is probable.
Kobe Bryant
(nasal fracture, concussion) is day-to-day.

Jose Barea
(strained right calf) probable.
Malcolm Lee
(torn left meniscus) out.
Nikola Pekovic
(sore right foot) probable.


Game 1: 1/29 - LAL @ MIN - W 106 -101
Game 2: 2/29 - MIN@ LAL - W 104 - 85
Game 3: 3/09 - LAL @ MIN
Game 4: 3/16 - MIN @ LAL


GAME NOTES

BRYANT SETS ALL-TIME RECORD FOR POINTS SCORED AT ONE ARENA
With 38 points in the Lakers 115-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings March 2nd at STAPLES Center, Kobe Bryant set the all-time record for points scored at one arena on the 50th anniversary of fellow Philadelphia native Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. Bryant has now scored 13,788 points at STAPLES Center, passing Hakeem Olajuwon’s mark of 13,783 points tallied at Compaq Center, former home of the Houston Rockets. Olajuwon held the record since taking it from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (12,529 points scored at the Forum) in March 1998.*


WIRE-TO-WIRE
With their 104-85 victory over the Timberwolves on February 29th, the Lakers recorded their FIRST wire-to-wire victory of the 2011-12 season. Last year, the Lakers led the NBA with 10 wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed), all coming during the regular season. During the team’s two most recent championship runs, they recorded nine wire-to-wire victories in 2009-10 (seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City)) and 11 wire-towire victories in 2008-09 (nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston)). The Lakers have also lost one game this season in wire-to-wire fashion, falling to the Clippers 102-94 on January 14th. Last year, the Lakers lost two such games: (98-107 1/8/10 at POR & 75-91 3/26/10 at OKC).


LAKERS MAKE IT 17 STRAIGHT AGAINST THE TIMBERWOLVES
In defeating the Timberwolves 104-85 on February 29th, the Lakers extended their win streak against Minnesota to 17 games, the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another. The streak is the longest by the Lakers against another team since they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99.*


KOBE BRYANT PASSES MICHAEL JORDAN FOR MOST CAREER POINTS IN ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
At the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, a Kobe Bryant fast-break dunk at the 4:57 mark of the third quarter moved him past Michael Jordan (262 points) for most career points in All-Star Game History. Bryant finished with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, helping the West to a 152-149 victory over the East. Bryant (271 points), who entered the game ranked 4th in career All-Star scoring, also passed Oscar Robertson (246 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251 points) on the night. Bryant, a 14-time All-Star and 4-time All-Star MVP, also tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan for the most All-Star starts in NBA history with 13. Andrew Bynum, the starting center for the Western Conference, made his first career All-Star appearance, but played just six minutes in order to rest his knee. Bynum finished with three rebounds, an assist and a steal, while blocking Dwight Howard’s first shot attempt.


WORLD PEACE RECORDS 1,500th CAREER STEAL
With a steal at the 2:04 mark of the second quarter 2/23 at Oklahoma City, Metta World Peace recorded his 1,500th career steal. World Peace is now the 5th active player to record at least 1,500 steals. Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion are the other four with Baron Davis just one assist shy of the milestone. World Peace, the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, has finished among the top-five in the NBA in steals per game five times in his career and has led his team in steals in 10 of his 12 NBA seasons. A two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team (2004, 2006) and two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team member (2003, 2009), World Peace currently ranks 37th on the NBA’s All-Time career steals list with 1,501 steals. Reggie Miller (1,505) and Julius Irving (1,508) are next up on the list.


LAKERS HOLD BLAZERS TO SEVEN FIRST QUARTER POINTS
In their 103-92 victory over the Trail Blazers on February 20 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers outscored Portland 29-7 in the first quarter, where they held the Trail Blazers to just 3-of-17 shooting and outrebounded Portland 21-5. The Blazers’ seven first quarter points marked their lowest first quarter points total in their 3,363-game history in the NBA. The total also matched the second lowest first quarter points total allowed by the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season; on February 4, 1987, the Lakers outscored the Sacramento Kings 40-4 in the first quarter in a 128-92 victory at The Forum and on January 9, 2004, the Lakers outscored the Atlanta Hawks 34-7 in the first period in a 113-67 victory at STAPLES Center. The last time the Lakers held a team to seven points or less in any quarter came back on December 9, 2009, when they outscored the Utah Jazz 28-6 in the fourth quarter in a 101-77 victory at STAPLES Center.*


*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau






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