Last time Andrew Wiggins played against the Lakers, he scored 30 points while going head-to-head with one of his biggest influences, Kobe Bryant.
While Bryant answered with 38 points to lead the Lakers to victory on Feb. 2, Wiggins came back even stronger against this year’s post-Kobe squad, as he dropped a career-high 47 points to lead Minnesota to a 125-99 victory.
Wiggins was scorching from the beginning, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and another 12 in the second. After cooling off for a bit in the third, he racked up 17 in the final period to smash his previous career-high of 36, which he set on Tuesday.
Wiggins shot a steaming 14-of-21 from the field, but his total was achieved in part because the Lakers allowed him to take 22 free throws, and he cashed 17.
“You let a player as good as him get 22 additional free chances at it,” head coach Luke Walton said, “one, he’s going to score a lot. Two, he’s going to get hot because he’s in a rhythm from all the free throws he’s shooting.”
Wiggins also collected four rebounds and three assists while committing only two turnovers in 41 minutes, but D’Angelo Russell agreed that the team’s issue was sending him to the foul line, saying that the “rim seems like an ocean” when hitting so many free throws.
Minnesota (3-6) exploded at the end of the first half with a 24-5 run that warranted a 69-46 lead at intermission, and the Lakers couldn’t recover.
Los Angeles (6-5) trailed by as many as 26 points, but Lou Williams heated up and scored 11 points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 91-83.
But even with Williams finishing with a team-best 17 points and four assists, the Lakers couldn’t quite get back into it, as the Wolves enjoyed a 38-27 fourth quarter.
“This feeling sucks,” Russell said. “We’re trying to stay away from this feeling.”
Russell and Nick Young combined to shoot 6-of-19 as the starting backcourt, including just 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Julius Randle collected 14 points and six rebounds but also committed five of L.A.’s 17 turnovers.
On the other side, Wiggins was aided by unexpected contributions from Nemanja Bjelica, who started in place of the injured Zach LaVine (sore knee). Bjelica broke his own career-high with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting, contributing eight rebounds and five 3-pointers along the way.
The Lakers concluded their three-game road trip with two wins, having won in New Orleans the night before. Walton allowed that fatigue may have contributed to his team’s inability to match Minnesota’s energy.
“There aren’t many teams that go three (games) in four nights on the road and can bring it on that last night,” Walton said.
Timofey Mozgov fouled out in only 15 minutes, tallying four points and four rebounds. … Minnesota scored at least 33 points in three different quarters while the Lakers failed to score 28 in any. … Karl-Anthony Towns (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Ricky Rubio (10 points, 10 assists) had double-doubles for the Wolves. … An audience of 14,432 attended at Target Center.