LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 2, 2022 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 2, 2022 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
Adam Pantozzi

Lakers Show Grit for Second Straight Win

by Matthew Barrero

The Lakers (19-19) got back to .500 this season, following their 108-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Not only does this mark the first win in 2022, but it is also the first time L.A. has beaten Minnesota this season (previously lost first two meetings).

Despite the Timberwolves outrebounding the Lake Show on the offensive glass, 20-4 (and 56-28 in total rebounds), L.A. was able to come out victorious. The most intriguing fact about that particular stat is that when the Lakers allow 18-plus offensive rebounds in a game this season, they are undefeated (now 4-0).

For the first time in eight games, LeBron James scored under 30 points (the last time being against this same Minnesota team when he scored 18). The streak ends at seven, but that didn’t stop LBJ from having another solid outing, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a block in 39 minutes.

Additionally, LeBron passed Oscar Robertson for fourth all-time in free throws made (now with 7,697).

Another streak to come to an end was that of Russell Westbrook, who previously was riding a four-game streak with a triple-double. Tonight, Westbrook finished with 20 points, five assists, three rebounds, a steal, and a block.

Five of the nine Lakers to play this evening finished with 14-plus points. In addition to LeBron and Russ, Malik Monk finished with 22 points (fifth-straight game with 15-plus points). Avery Bradley found himself in a starting role and ended his night with 14 points, four rebounds, four steals, and an assist in 28 minutes.

Lastly, Carmelo Anthony made some clutch shots in his 29 minutes, ending his outing with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting (3-of-7 from three).

The Lakers found themselves in a back-and-forth contest most of the night, despite the Timberwolves having a depleted roster due to Covid. Karl-Anthony Towns and former Laker, D’Angelo Russell are in the league’s health and safety protocols and did not play tonight.

L.A. played a smaller lineup, with LeBron at the five, and the T’Wolves took advantage outscoring the Lakers in the paint 58-32. While the stats were mostly in favor of Minnesota at the end of the night, the biggest difference was the Lakers three-point shooting, hitting four-more shots (13-9) and outscoring the Wolves in the fourth quarter, 30-23.

The Lakers have now hit 13 or more three-pointers in four consecutive games.

With the win, L.A. improves to 2-0 on their five-game homestand. With a day off tomorrow, the Lakers will prep for a matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

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