Wolves vs. Lakers Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Lakers 7:00 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: My29
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:

* Nikola Pekovic (foot/ankle) - OUT
* Martell Webster (back surgery) - OUT
* Jonny Flynn (hip) - OUT

* Lamar Odom PF - Nov 18: Day-to-Day
* Theo Ratliff C - OUT
* Andrew Bynum C - Nov 18: OUT

Scouting Report:
Big Picture:
Following a narrow five-point victory over the Wolves on November 9, the Lakers suffered consecutive losses and looked vulnerable for the first time this season. With No. 24 on the court, the minor two-game slide was quickly rectified as Kobe Bryant scored a combined 64 points in the next two outings to get Los Angeles back on track. Most national pundits believe the Lakers are the top team in the land but New Orleans and San Antonio hold a better record at 9-1. Los Angeles concludes a three-game road trip tonight in Minneapolis before returning home for the next two contests.

Last Time Out
Bryant scored 24 of his game-high 33 points in the first half to lift the Lakers over the Pistons 103-90 on Wednesday night. Los Angeles held Detroit under 40 percent shooting from the floor and won the rebounding battle 55-41.

Once again, Minnesota received a huge performance from Michael Beasley and Kevin Love to snag a close 113-111 victory at the Target Center. Beasley drilled the game-winner with 2.3 seconds remaining on the game clock, adding to his 33 points in the win. Love added 24 points and 14 boards on Wednesday night.

The Numbers Game

The dynamic duo of Beasley and Love are averaging a combined 53.6 points and 22.2 rebounds in their last five games.

Match-up to Watch
Darko Milicic vs. Pau Gasol

While Bryant is the alpha dog and No. 1 scoring option on the Lakers, Gasol can be a difference maker with his ability to score easy points in the paint and rebound. In the last meeting, Gasol posted an efficient 18 points along with 10 boards. These are not jaw-dropping numbers for the Spaniard, considering Milicic finished with 10 points and seven rebounds to counter the Lakers center. If Milicic can contain one of the best low-post threats in the league, Minnesota will have a chance to upset the Lake Show tonight.

What to Look For
Bryant is going to get buckets regardless of any elaborate defensive schemes from the Wolves. He scored 33 points on 28 field goal attempts in the first contest between the two teams this season. Assistant coach JB Bickerstaff brought up an interesting point in the scouting report video, explaining how the Wolves learned a valuable lesson during that November 9 matchup. Bickerstaff said his squad gained a better understanding of pace, making smart decisions in the open floor and picking their spots to score transition buckets or pulling back to get the half court offensive sets in place. From a statistical standpoint, these teams rank in the top two in rebounding, which will be a key number in the final box score. Focusing on the emotional aspect of a Friday night game at the Target Center against the reigning champs, the Wolves must capture the early momentum and build confidence similar to the first game in Los Angeles.

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