Wolves Fall To Lakers

Lakers 90 (43-19) - Timberwolves 79 (14-47) | Target Center

Wolves Writer

How it happened:
After being contained throughout the entire first half, the “Black Mamba” and the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to strike in the second half, leading to a 90-79 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It was only a matter of time before Kobe Bryant escaped Wesley Johnson’s defensive grasp. Bryant led the defending champions to victory by pouring in 20 of his 24 total points during the second half. The former MVP once again proved to be the game’s best closer, scoring the Lakers final eight points to seal the win.

Minnesota built a 45-40 lead heading into the locker rooms by holding Los Angeles to just 30.4 percent shooting in the opening half. With Bryant struggling to contribute, the Lakers were forced to look for other options. Los Angeles used their unmatchable frontcourt size of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom to dominate the paint. By capitalizing on rebounding opportunities over the smaller Wolves, Los Angeles outrebounded Minnesota 53-39, leading to a 28-7 discrepancy of second chance points. With the continued strong frontcourt play and the addition of Bryant’s second half scoring outburst, Los Angeles gradually seized control of the contest.

Leader of the Pack:
The intriguing teacher-student matchup between Wesley Johnson and Kobe Bryant was on full display as the two competitive shooting guards battled throughout. Johnson held Bryant to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting in the opening half. Although Kobe ended up to be the game's top scorer, Johnson's lockdown defense made him earn every bucket. Offensively, Johnson continued his post All-Star break tear, tallying a team-high 20 points.

Highlight to Remember:
Yet again, it was Derek Fisher who ended up on the wrong end of a Timberwolves poster. Midway through the third quarter, a two-on-one fast break opportunity between Luke Ridnour and Anthony Randolph brought the crowd to its feet with a picture perfect give-and-go alley-oop slam.

The Numbers Game:
Kevin Love continues to chase Moses Malone by recording his 47th consecutive double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Love struggled to find openings against the Lakers frontcourt, shooting only 2-of-10 from the floor.

Looking Ahead:
The Minnesota Timberwolves embark on a three-game road trip beginning tomorrow night at The Palace to take on Detroit. The 22-40 Pistons fell 92-90 to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.