Wolves @ Lakers Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves @ Lakers 9:30 PM - Staples Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
* None

* Kobe Bryant - DAY-TO-DAY


Big Picture
Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have silenced the critics with a 10-1 record while establishing a championship swagger heading towards the highly anticipated playoffs. Los Angeles posted impressive victories at Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Atlanta, Dallas, and most recently a home win over Orlando on Monday night. The recent surge lifted the Lakers to the No. 2 spot in the latest Western Conference standings at 48-20 as they enjoy a seven-game homestand that includes tonight’s final matchup against the Wolves. It’s not all a bed of roses for the defending champs considering the potential injury issues for two of the major contributors on the squad. Kobe Bryant suffered a near catastrophic sprained ankle in the Dallas contest and Andrew Bynum continues to deal with knee problems that have plagued the center throughout his five-year career.

Last Time Out
Los Angeles dispatched Orlando 97-84 behind Pau Gasol’s 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The win improved the Lakers home record to 23-8 on the season.

For the second time in the midst of a three-game road trip, Minnesota failed to record a victory and fell 119-104 to the Jazz. C.J. Miles scored 40 points in a remarkable career performance, dropping the Wolves to 17-52.

The Numbers Game
Minnesota is searching for some offensive firepower and efficiency from the floor. On Sunday, the Wolves only hit 36.6 percent of their field goal attempts and Wednesday night in Utah, the team shot 42 percent in a 15-point loss.

Match-up to Watch
Wolves frontline vs. Lakers frontline
The Warriors and Lakers are the last two teams to keep Kevin Love away from double-double territory. Of course, Love owned 53 consecutive games with a double-double in between facing both teams and he hopes to start a new streak after scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 boards in Utah. The combination of Bynum, Gasol, and Lamar Odom has stifled Love in the three meetings this season. Love is averaging just 12 points but has managed to haul down 14 boards per game against the extremely long and talented Lakers frontline. Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic, Anthony Tolliver, and Anthony Randolph must assist in defending Gasol, who is a supremely gifted offensive player. The Wolves frontcourt will also need a strong effort on the glass as Bynum has averaged 14.6 rebounds per game in March. After allowing 62 points in the paint on Wednesday to the Jazz, head coach Kurt Rambis will certainly place a high emphasis on post defense in the final meeting between the two teams this season.

What to Look For
The Lakers championship defense has returned after the All-Star break with the team allowing only 87.7 points per game. Minnesota will have to find an offensive scheme to score easy buckets in transition and off second chance points due to Los Angeles’ suffocating half court defense.

Despite a four-day gap between games to rest and recover, Bryant remains questionable for the contest tonight. The Lakers shooting guard is expected to play according to the Orange County Register and he will certainly look to find the shooting touch as his field goal percentage has dipped to 40.4 in March.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.