Even good teams play bad games, and sometimes those games come against good teams. Minnesota, unfortunately, played one of their worst games of the season tonight against the Lakers.
Honestly, there isn’t that much to say about tonight. Minnesota was without their best player. Los Angeles wasn’t. Minnesota was on the second night of a tough back to back. This was LA’s first game since the All-Star break. Minnesota was on the road. The Lakers were at home, in that poorly lit arena that seems to throw off even some of the best shooters.
The Wolves hung with LA till half-time, down just six at the break. But while Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley were able to push the Wolves over the Clippers last night, Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol kept pouring it on, making big shots and stopping even the threat of a run multiple times. The Lakers outscored Minnesota 33-15 in the third quarter. The game was never close after that.
Some brief bullet points:
- Kobe torched Minnesota, creepy Jason-murderer mask and all. He flirted with a triple double, pouring in 31 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out eight assists. He played through a broken nose and a concussion. Say what you want about the man (and if it’s unkind, I probably have), but he is tough as nails. Ugh.
- Much has been made about Rubio’s current slump, but really he is just performing to our original expectations. We expected him to dish out a lot of assists (nine tonight), struggle shooting (1-8 from the field), and make a couple of spectacular plays per game (tossing the ball between Derek Fisher’s legs to Pekovic for an easy layup). His shooting will regress back to the mean eventually, but until then, he continues to set up his teammates well.
- Much may be made of Beasley taking 13 shots, and he did seem to dominate the ball whenever he got it. But, especially in the fourth, Beasley was easily the best offensive weapon Minnesota had on the court. Would you rather have Beasley taking a variety of shots, or watch Darko fumble the ball all over the court and get his shot swatted by Bynum? Thought so.
- Barea is hurt. Again. His availability against Phoenix is questionable, and pushing him to come back on the third night of a back to back to back doesn’t seem wise.
- More bench production: Anthony Randolph did that annoying thing where he showed tantalizing potential that he probably won’t ever fulfill again. In 19 minutes, Randolph scored 12 points and ripped down 9 rebounds.
- Seventeen straight losses to the Lakers. It’s starting to feel like a big brother/little brother dynamic. Beating LA will probably feel like a rite of passage. But we will have to wait at least one more match-up to find out.
- Denver beat Portland tonight, so Denver moved into the eighth place in the West, while Minnesota trails Portland by half a game and Denver by one. Basically, Denver and Portland just swapped spots while the Wolves stayed in the same position.
All in all, a bad game for Minnesota, but an understandable one. They will have a chance to get back on track tomorrow in Phoenix. Until then…