Gameday: Lakers 90, Timberwolves 113
|N. Young||F||C. Brewer|
|P. Gasol||F||K. Love|
|C. Kaman||C||N. Pekovic|
|S. Blake||G||K. Martin|
|S. Nash||G||R. Rubio|
K. Bryant: Achilles Out
D. Williams Back Questionable
Notebook: Timberwolves 113, Lakers 90
Dan Arritt, for NBA.com
THE FACT: The Timberwolves ended a 22-game losing streak against the Lakers, the longest active streak between NBA teams.
THE LEAD: Minnesota got off to a hot start behind the shooting of Kevin Love and Kevin Martin and then it was point guard Ricky Rubio who took over Sunday night, notching his second career triple-double in the 113-90 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center.
THE STAT: The Timberwolves established a franchise record by scoring 47 points in the first quarter. No team in the NBA had scored that many in an opening frame since March 16, 2008, when the Nuggets put up 48 against the SuperSonics.
QUOTABLE: "We were on fire, we were very active, plus we shot the heck out of it. I don't think they really knew what hit them." -- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman.
TURNING POINT: The game turned quickly in favor of the Timberwolves. Love and Martin scored nine points each as Minnesota surged to a 20-14 lead, and Love's fourth 3-pointer of the opening quarter gave the visitors a double-digit lead the rest of the way. The Timberwolves really put their stamp on the win when they strung together an 18-0 run later in the first quarter, extending their lead to 44-16. The closest the Lakers would get the rest of the way was 14 points at the end of the third, but Minnesota ended any thoughts of a comeback by outscoring the Lakers, 23-14, in the fourth.
HOT: The franchise record set by the Timberwolves in the opening quarter had Love and Martin's fingerprints all over it. Love scored 18 of his 25 points in the first 12 minutes, shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point range and grabbing eight of his 13 rebounds in that span. Martin scored 16 of his 27 points in the first quarter, shooting 7-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 from long range. Rubio finished with 12 points, a career-high 14 assists, 10 rebounds and five steals. The other two starters also hit double figures, as Corey Brewer contributed 17 points and Nikola Pekovic finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The only member of the Lakers to do any damage was shooting guard Steve Blake, who scored 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.
NOT: The 18th season for Lakers point guard Steve Nash continues to look like it may be his last. Nash, who will turn 40 in February, started the game but wasn't around to finish it, having departed at halftime because of recurring nerve problems in his back. Nash is scheduled to see Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday, the same back specialist who repaired Dwight Howard's herniated disc prior to last season with the Lakers. Nash admitted afterward it's an "emotional" time for him. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player missed all three of his field-goal attempts before heading for the locker room.
QUOTABLE II: "I'm concerned. [Nash] was struggling physically. You could see it in his face." -- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.
GOOD MOVE: The Timberwolves not only had a big-time advantage in the paint with Love and Pekovic, but they were aggressive in transition, thanks to crisp outlet passes by Love and great ball handling by Rubio and Brewer, outscoring the Lakers, 19-6, in fast-break points. Minnesota didn't wait for the Lakers to miss a shot to run the floor either. Several times, the Timberwolves beat L.A. down the floor after made baskets.
BAD MOVE: Lakers guard Nick Young has already gone from opening-night starter to a reserve and back in the starting lineup this season. D'Antoni is determined to find a way to spark one of the few players on the team that can create his own shot. But Young didn't get on D'Antoni's good side to start the second half, missing a 16-footer and then blowing a defensive assignment on the other end. That prompted a visibly angry D'Antoni to call timeout 47 seconds into the half and chew out Young as he walked toward the bench. Young finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, one of four L.A. starters to shoot under 50 percent.
NOTABLE: The Timberwolves franchise record for assists in a game is 17. ... Shabazz Muhammad, the first-round pick of Minnesota who played at UCLA last season, made his fourth appearance of the season, playing the last three minutes and missing his only shot.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Tuesday vs. New Orleans, Wednesday @ Denver, Friday vs. Memphis. For the Timberwolves, Monday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Cleveland, Friday @ Denver.
Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni:
(On the first quarter of tonight’s game)
“We came out soft. We didn’t get in with anyone. They felt it and they made some tough shots, but they did score 47 points. And I don’t care what kind of shots they made; we didn’t get in so they didn’t feel us. There just wasn’t enough intensity into the defense and we paid for it. After that we kind of settled out, but they were up by 20 at that point and we got it down to about 14 at the start of the fourth and it fell off again. ”
(On the Lakers mental toughness)
“Sometimes we don’t have enough speed on the floor and like tonight it hurt us. Sometimes you get away with it, but we have to find a way to get more speed.”
(On Steve Nash’s back injury)
“I’m concerned. He was struggling physically tonight, you could just see it on his face and that’s why I took him out. We shut him down more or less and he was struggling.”
(On the likelihood that Nash will recover from his back injury)
“I can’t say. I’m hoping like everyone else is. I think he needs to see the doctor and they need to talk as well as with Gary. They will probably come up with a solution for whatever it is and I don’t know what that is.”
(On Pau Gasol’s recovery from his surgery)
“I think he will come back into shape, we just have to be a little patient. I think he is getting frustrated too, but it’s also a product of the team and that’s one reason why we need more energy on the floor. He is working through some things and again he is trying everything he can to get back to having great games and he will.”
Lakers guard Nick Young
(On the Lakers’ performance tonight)
“[We need to] just play better, [and] somehow get it together. Even though they were knocking down shots, there’s no way you’re supposed to lose like this at home…We just have to go out there and play. Be greedy… We [were] too nice.”
(On whether or not playing Coach Mike D’Antoni’s old system would work)
“Yeah, you know, we need to try something. We’re working, but obviously we need to get in the gym tomorrow, and figure it out.”
(On the key to beating the Pelicans on Tuesday)
“Just stop their transition. They’re big, and they’re playing well. [We need to] figure out how to slow them down.”
Lakers guard Steve Blake
(On how Minnesota was able to score so many points)
“They made a number of shots with guys right in their face, so you have to give them a lot of credit. I just say, for myself, [I] just have to do a better job of managing the rhythm and work harder.”
(On how Steve Nash’s injury will affect him)
“I hate to see him struggling like that with injuries. I’m going to pray for him, and hopefully we can get him back.”
(On the team morale)
“I think we’re obviously disappointed in our performance. I know I am personally, but I think we have guys who are going to come in tomorrow and work hard. That’s all we can do. You can’t put your head down, you have to move on, and you figure it out. It’s a long season, and we have more games.”
Lakers guard Jodie Meeks
(On how Minnesota was able to score so many points in the first quarter)
“We just have to give them a lot of credit. They played well. We got out to a slow start but, you have nights like that. We just have to regroup and get ready for Tuesday.”
(On why they were unable to get over the hump after getting the lead down to 14 points)
“It’s tough to come back when you’re down that many points. You just exert so much energy trying to come back, [but] we kept fighting. [I] give this team a lot of credit. We kept fighting, but we couldn’t get over the hump, 14 points, for whatever reason. We just have to chalk it up to a bad loss and move on.”
Lakers forward Pau Gasol
(On Lakers’ defense in first quarter)
“I think we could have done better. We have to give them [Minnesota] credit. They made some shots… a lot of shots. Forty-seven points in one quarter…it’s outrageous. But we have to put more pressure. We have to force them to take tougher shots. They made some tough ones, but we have to figure out how to take some guys out of the game. We knew [Corey] Brewer was going to leak out, and we gave him easy ones. We just have to be locked in and more aggressive from the beginning, so we don’t put ourselves in a hole like we did tonight.”
(On his confidence after losing tonight)
“It was a tough night. There’s no doubt about it. They [Minnesota] played really well. They were on fire in the first quarter, and we weren’t aggressive enough to force them into tougher shots. And we paid the price, simple as that.”
(On seeming more comfortable individually tonight)
“I was. I felt better. I’m breathing a little better, so that’s going to help me and feel a little bitter. I look forward to continuing to improve physically and performance-wise.”
Xavier Henry set a career-high with eight rebounds. His previous career high was six, which he matched earlier this season vs. LAC 10/29.
The starting lineup of Nash-Blake-Kaman-Gasol-Young started their second game of the season tonight (also 11/7 at HOU, a win). L.A. has started the same lineup on consecutive games just once this season (games four and five). Through the first eight games of the season, the Lakers have used five different starting lineups and eight different players have started a game. L.A. No one position has had the same starter every game, although Steve Blake and Pau Gasol have both started every game (Blake started twice as a point guard in relief of Steve Nash and Gasol twice as a power forward alongside Chris Kaman).
Ricky Rubio became the first Lakers opponent to record a triple double since LeBron James did so 12/25/10 at STAPLES (27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists).