Back in March of 1992, Christian Laettner had one of the most legendary games in NCAA history, capping off a perfect 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 from the foul line day with a jumper at the buzzer to lift Duke over Kentucky.
On Friday, against Laettner's first pro team, Lakers reserve Matt Barnes did his best impression of the former Blue Devil.
Barnes shot 7-for-7 from the field, 5-for-5 on 3-pointers and 5-for-5 from the foul line to finish with a team-high 24 points. He did most of his damage in the second and third quarters, scoring 16 points as the Lakers turned a one-point deficit after the first quarter into a 14-point lead headed into the fourth.
"I just try to play hard," said Barnes who added seven rebounds and six assists. "I got a role to fulfill on the team which is rebound and play defense and knock down open shots and just the knocking down open shots part was something I did tonight."
Barnes said it was his most impressive shooting night he could remember since he scored a career high 36 points for Golden State back on Jan. 3, 2007. But in that game he was 7-for-16 from deep and his team lost.
He wasn't the only one perfect on the day. Derek Fisher finished 5-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from downtown for a total of 12 points.
Fisher said he couldn't recall another time that both he and a teammate were both perfect with so many shot attempts.
"Maybe a couple guys go 2-for-2 or something like that," Fisher said. "But, it’s a shame we couldn’t get more looks though. We had it going good out there."
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has chided Barnes for the hitch in his jump shot in the past and suggested that the shooting display was more of an aberration than a relevation.
"Well, you have nights like that where things are going to go right," Jackson said. "You just hope the sun shines on both sides of a dog’s butt once in a while."
The last time the Lakers and Wolves met, Kevin Love finished with 23 points and 24 rebounds in a tight five-point win by L.A.
On Friday, Jackson made sure to give Lamar Odom a little extra motivation to keep Love at bay.
"Lamar was embarrassed because of the last performance," Jackson said. "I told Lamar after the game, ‘I know why Love made the U.S.A. team now; he got to practice against you every day.’ So Lamar took it to heart and he went out there with a purpose tonight."
Love finished with zero points on 0-for-7 shooting and just seven rebounds in the loss. Odom had 11 points, eight boards, seven assists and four blocks.
"Tonight I just didn't have it," Love said. "Lamar came in and played very well and you have to give credit to the defense that they played, but I just felt like tonight that I just didn't have it."
Odom explained his strategy against his teammate from the FIBA World Championship this summer.
"He does a good job staying around the basket, making you be aware of him," Odom said. "I tried to front him as much as possible when the ball goes up so he doesn’t get any easy offensive rebounds."
For more on Love's rebounding, read this story I wrote before the game, detailing how Jackson believes Love gets away with fouls when he hits the glass.
While the Love-Odom battle went in favor of the Lakers, Darko Milicic might have had the best game of his eight-year NBA career against former Memphis teammate Pau Gasol.
Milicic set new career highs in points (23) and blocks (six), while tying his career highs in rebounds (16) and assists (five).
At the end of the second quarter, he had 12 points and 11 boards to Pau's two and five.
"That was a great game for Darko and he got really pumped to play Pau," Jackson said. "We told Pau at halftime, ‘The best European center is on the other team today,’ and he laughed it off."
Gasol finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and the win to get the last laugh.
"Obviously I was upset by the way I was playing in the first half and frustrated so I had to come out in the second half a lot more focused, a lot more understanding of what was going on out there and understanding I needed to attack," Gasol said. "That was [the reason for the improvement]. It was no comments, no teasing, nothing."
Ron Artest finished with just five points against Minnesota. Over the Lakers three-game road trip, Artest averaged just 5.0 points per game and shot a grand total of 6-for-15 (40 percent). Jackson said Artest suffered from back pain and that the forward "had a nerve problem" in the Milwaukee game.
"I think he wasn’t 100 percent in the last couple games and that’s obvious and the other thing I think really is he’s just been fitting in, he hasn’t been trying to push it," Jackson said.
Artest denied any nerve trouble and summed up his lack of concern over his offensive output in a way only he can.
“If you’re singing a song about a girl, keep the song about the girl, don’t change it up," Artest said. "Don’t make the song about you struggling, because it’s about a girl. Keep the song how it is.
"I’m totally comfortable; I’m totally comfortable with having zero points in a game. I’m totally happy."
The win against the Wolves gave the Lakers a perfect 3-0 record on their road trip and increased their overall record to 11-2. They won the three games by an average of 13.7 points.
"Our defense is getting a little better as the year goes on," Odom said about the perfect trip.
Said Kobe Bryant: "I felt like on this trip we played harder defensively. We picked up the pace a little bit. It’s not what we’re used to doing, but it’s better."
Michael Beasley lead the Timberwolves in scoring with 25 points to go with 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, but Artest was critical of how the third-year player is learning the game.
"He’s a good player, but they have to teach him how to play ball," Artest said. "He could be such a good player but he’s doing one thing. He’s so athletic, where it will work a lot of times, but all he’s doing is he’s playing one way – going all the way to the hole or he’s going to shoot. He’s not getting no assists. It’s not his fault, he’s a young player. Somebody should be telling him [how to play] … He should be having more assists, more rebounds, he should be playing more defense … He could be a winner, he could be a winner. Somebody needs to teach him how to win though. Right now he’s just shining [individually] and anybody could do that."
Here's a connection between the two teams you probably didn't know about: Odom and Love have something in common other than being teammates on U.S.A. Basketball. They have both had cameo spots on the HBO series "Entourage." Odom's was in Season 2, Love's was in the Season 7 finale along with former Laker guard Jordan Farmar.
Quotes of the night: "Don’t ask me that silly [expletive]. Next." -- Kobe Bryant after being asked about his new "Call of Duty: Black Ops" video game advertisement.
"I think the fans are much more excited about this ballclub. They see the potential of this ballclub. They’re starting to get excited about it .... There’s Crunch on a Segway." -- Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis being distracted by the Wolves mascot as he answered a question during his pregame media session.
Stats of the night: The Lakers shot 10-for-19 on 3-pointers as a team (52.6 percent) ... Rookie Derrick Caracter had five turnovers in 10 minutes of playing time ... Led by Barnes, the Lakers bench outscored the Wolves' second unit 45-34 ... Beasley scored 25 points, becoming the first Minnesota player since Kevin Garnett in March of 2000 to score 25 or more in six straight games.