Friday, March 28, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Wolves 143, Lakers 107
By Dave McMenamin
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kobe Bryant has been active on social media lately, sending out a series of tweets in the last several days about his new sports drink business venture and clarifying his stance on the controversial Trayvon Martin case.
However, nowhere to be found in the flurry of tweets was any mention of the Lakers, or basketball, for that matter. Until Friday night, that is.
The Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of being completely dominated by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and there was Bryant -- who did not attend the trip as he continues to rehabilitate his fractured left knee that shut down his season after only six games played -- checking in from afar.
It had been nearly three weeks since Bryant had made mention of the Lakers on his timeline. Not surprisingly, that tweet also was inspired by a poor effort -- the Lakers' 48-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 6, accounting for the largest margin of defeat in franchise history.
There was certainly more misery in Minnesota on Friday. And the only motivation seemingly left for this group is the fact that there's only 10 games left before the season ends.
How it happened: This one was over before it started. After dropping 47 points in the first quarter against the Lakers at Staples Center in November, Minnesota "only" scored 41 in the opening frame Friday, building a 17-point lead. The Wolves outscored L.A. 33-19 in the second quarter to take a 31-point lead into intermission. The Wolves cruised from there.
What it means: After L.A. dropped consecutive games to the worst team in the league in Milwaukee, then were embarrassed by Minnesota, that blowout win against the Knicks has proved to be a major aberration rather than a sign of improvement down the stretch.
Robert Sacre had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Steve Nash returned after sitting out three games because of nerve discomfort in his back and right hamstring to put up four points and six assists in 14 minutes.
Misses: The Wolves set a franchise record for shooting percentage in a game, connecting on 67.1 percent of their shots and eclipsing their previous mark of 64.2 percent.
The 143 points were a new season worst allowed for the Lakers and a franchise-best mark for the Wolves.
Stat of the game: 60-30. The Wolves doubled up on the Lakers with 4:45 remaining in the second quarter and would go on to push their lead up to as many as 41 in the fourth.
Up next: Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said "there's a chance" Pau Gasol could return to the lineup Sunday, when the Lakers host the surging Phoenix Suns (winners of five in a row). Gasol has missed the last three games because of vertigo symptoms. L.A. will have the day off Saturday, coming off the back-to-back.