MINNEAPOLIS—November 19, 2010: The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-95 at the Target Center to close out a three-game road trip with a 3-0 sweep and improve their overall record to 11-2. Los Angeles has now won 13 straight regular season games against Minnesota.
In their last meeting with the T-Wolves, the Lakers narrowly escaped a loss and in the early going, it appeared as though it would be another highly contested game, as the T-Wolves would be up by a point after the first quarter unfolded.
However, the resemblance to the last meeting would end by the second quarter.
“We did a lot of different things defensively (in the second quarter) and that sealed the deal for us,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.
Michael Beasley’s block on Kobe Bryant’s layup in the first quarter may have fueled Bryant to a 9-point second quarter, as a 24-7 run propelled the Lakers and put them ahead by 16, 44-28, but the Timberwolves stormed back to cut the lead to five with 1:51 to go. A Derek Fisher three-pointer and a pair of Bryant jumpers nudged the lead back to double digits at halftime, 51-41.
The 16-point Lakers lead would make a return appearance in the third quarter at the 7:15 mark, and Los Angeles would never relinquish the lead, pushing it to as high as 25 in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Love, who became only the 19th player to ever record a 30-30 game with 31 points and 31 rebounds a week ago, did not score a single point off 0-of-7 shooting and had only 7 rebounds. Love was smothered by Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol all evening and apparently, Coach Jackson played a part in that.
“I told Lamar (Odom) ‘no wonder Kevin Love did so well for Team USA, you were guarding him during practice,'” said Jackson.
The Lakers’ bench outscored the Wolves bench 45-34, with 24 of those points coming from Matt Barnes who hit all seven of his shots, including 5-of-5 from three-point range.
Pau Gasol would only score one basket in the first half, but finished the game with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.
Lamar Odom had an all-around game with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 blocked shots; Kobe Bryant also added 23 points and 8 rebounds.
T-Wolves were led by center Darko Milicic with 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Matt Beasley finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Lakers will travel back home and face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at the STAPLES Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT.
NOTES: Pau Gasol tweaked his right ankle in the third quarter, but returned to action after getting it re-wrapped in the locker room. In the fourth quarter, Shannon Brown inadvertently got poked in his right eye as he was going for a layup and headed to the locker room, but would return to the game.