Scouting Report: Wolves (23-24) vs. Lakers (16-31) | Feb. 4, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Lakers | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
These aren’t exactly your 2000-2010 Lakers. In fact, they aren’t even the same team as last week after the recent injury to Pau Gasol.
There’s no Gasol, no Kobe Bryant, and although coach Mike D'Antoni said Monday that Steve Nash will return tonight, how much of an impact coming off nearly three months nursing a back injury is still up for grabs.
The Wolves, who know plenty about injuries (just ask Rick Adelman about last season), will be without Nikola Pekovic (ankle), but they hope to have the big man back soon.
The Lakers come into the game with a 16-31 record, sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference. The Wolves are at 23-24, four games back from Dallas for the eighth seed in the West.
The Wolves are 1-1 against the Lakers this season.
The last game came on Dec. 20 and the Lakers won 104-91 at the Staples Center. Nick Young led the way for the Lakers with 25 bench points, 12 coming from the 3-point line. Pau Gasol nearly missed out on a triple-double, scoring 21 points to go with 13 rebounds and eight assists. Xavier Henry also added 21 points, while Jodie Meeks scored 17.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Nikola Pekovic also had a double-double, scoring 22 points and hauling in 13 rebounds -- 10 coming on the offensive end. Kevin Martin was the only other starter for the Wolves to hit double-digits, scoring 14 points while shooting 6-of-16.
Their first time around, Minnesota beat the Lakers 113-90 on Nov. 10 at Staples Center. They put up 47 points in the first quarter, got 27 points from Martin and 25 points from Love as the Wolves snapped a 22-game losing streak to L.A.
This Week’s Results
The Wolves are coming off of a road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday. Minnesota fell 120-113 to Atlanta, despite 43 points and 19 rebounds from Love. Martin finished with 17 points. Barea led the second unit with 12 and Corey Brewer was the next leading scorer with 10. Ricky Rubio had a solid game, finishing with five points, 11 assists, five steals and four rebounds.
Minnesota is 2-3 in its last five games.
Los Angeles last played on Friday at home and fell 110-100 to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Young led L.A. with 21 points off the bench, but was just 8-of-22 from the field. Gasol finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Meeks added 19 points, while former Duke star Ryan Kelly finished with 13. Kendall Marshall had his team’s only double-double, scoring 10 points and dishing out 12 assists.
The Lakers have lost six straight games.
Feb. 4, 2014
Despite mainly coming off the bench, the man known as “Swaggy P” is arguably having his best season since 2010-11. Young is averaging 17 points per game in 29 minutes. His 42.2 percent mark from the field is also the best since 2010-11. Despite some of his off the court antics, Young has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers and if L.A. was having a better season as a team, it would be easy to make a case for Sixth Man of the Year for Young.
Martin is also bringing back the clock a bit, playing the most minutes per game since the 2010-11 season. While Martin has scored 14 or more points in nine of his last 10 games, he still hasn’t found that consistent rhythm that we saw from him at the beginning of the season. Maybe a game against a pretty depleted L.A. team will help the sharpshooter get back on track.
Both of these players were top-10 picks that many thought weren’t going to pan out. Both players, though, found their niche in the NBA and have become very important pieces on their respective teams.
Brewer, a defensive-minded forward, will focus on Turner for the majority of the night.
Turner is averaging a career-high 19.8 points per game this season to go with 6.7 rebounds and four assists. Brewer is averaging 12 points per game in just under 33 minutes of play this season.
Pekovic (ankle) is out indefinitely.
The Lakers are a pretty beat up squad. Guards Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (back) have missed significant time but coach Mike D'Antoni said on Monday they will be back tonight in Minnesota. Xavier Henry (knee) is out indefinitely. Guard Kobe Bryant (leg) is out until after the All-Star Break. Guard Jordan Farmar (hamstring) is not expected to play. Center Pau Gasol is out for at least a week with a groin injury, while fellow big man Chris Kaman is probable with a knee injury.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Kendall Marshall|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Jodie Meeks|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Wesley Johnson|
|PF||Kevin Love||Ryan Kelly|
|C||Ronny Turiaf||Jordan Hill|