Lakers Hand Wolves 6th Straight Loss, 111-100
Wolves Editorial Associate
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Right when coach Rick Adelman started his postgame press conference after the Wolves’ 111-100 loss to the Lakers on Friday night, he summed up the game perfectly in a few sentences.
“It was just a tale of two halves,” Adelman said. “The first half we didn't come out with energy, and they just made every shot. We went to the zone and we got more active, but they beat us on the boards and we just missed a ton of free throws when we were trying to get back into it.”
The Lakers sprinted out to an early lead, kicking the game off with a 33-16 run. They shot a blazing 75 percent (6-for-8) from outside and 69 percent from the field in the first quarter.
Wolves vs. Lakers
“Got to give them a lot of credit,” J.J. Barea said. “They were hitting everything and moving the ball. Everybody, whoever was playing was making shots.”
The second quarter got even worse, as Los Angeles took a monumental lead by as much as 29 points at one point. Using a 17-3 run, the Wolves managed to climb back to a 15-point deficit by halftime.
Then, just as quickly as the Lakers heated up, their shooting suddenly went ice cold. They managed to make just 3-of-20 shots in the third quarter and allowed the Wolves to creep back to within 10 points, with Alexey Shved ending the quarter with a buzzer-beating three from way beyond the 3-point line.
In the fourth, the Wolves came within four points of their largest comeback of all time as another Shved 3-pointer put the game at 94-90. But Minnesota shot just 4-for-13 after that point and ended up sacrificing too many chances at rebounds and missing too many free throws to stay in the game.
“Everybody was hyped to play and get after it, but we just started just a little bit too slow. We turned it on a little bit too late,” Derrick Williams said.
Shved led the Wolves’ scoring efforts with 18 points off of 6-for-16 shooting, including five 3-pointers. Williams totaled 15, and Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea each logged 14. Ricky Rubio scored nine points (all of which were from the first half) and dished out seven assists. Minnesota was outrebounded 57-40, which shows just how much control Los Angeles maintained the entire game.
Pau Gasol had 22 points for Los Angeles along with 12 rebounds. Kobe Bryant continued his newfound appreciation for giving assists, totaling eight dishes as well as 17 points and 12 rebounds, nearly achieving a double-double. Steve Nash recorded 17 points with seven assists.
Leader of the Pack: Alexey Shved
In just his second game back from injury, Shved knocked down 5-of-11 shots from long-range and collected 18 points. He also distributed well, spreading six assists around, second only to Rubio. The rookie continues to look like he has played more than just a few months in the NBA, as his best moment all night was a very deep 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter that beat the clock.
Highlight of the Night
With 30 seconds left in the first half, Luke Ridnour fell on the ground as he battled for possession of the ball. He managed to flip a pass up to Rubio, who was always streaking down court. Rubio ran the fast break to perfection, throwing a behind-the-back bounce pass to Derrick Williams for a two-handed slam dunk finish.
The Numbers Game
“They made every single shot. No matter who it was, whoever came into the game. Gasol hit two 17-footers. Everybody was knocking it down, and that just feeds their confidence."— Wolves coach Rick Adelman
The Timberwolves continue their six-game homestand on Saturday night against the New Orleans Hornets at Target Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM. They have three home games next week against Portland on Monday, San Antonio on Wednesday and New York on Friday.