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The Lakers not only have the Wolves’ number historically — this loss makes it 18 straight losses to the Lakers, the longest losing streak to one team in the NBA — but they currently have the personnel to pummel them head-to-head on a consistent basis. And it’s nauseously sickening.
It’s not only Kobe Bryant who continually assaults the Wolves but the bruising frontcourt duo of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are just too much to handle. Simply put, they’re big three is so much better than ours on any given night. Nothing Rick Adelman can dial up will change that fact.
Having agreed that the Lakers are unquestionably better than the Wolves, you have to give Kevin Love and the Wolves credit for their effort tonight. The Lakers were just better in all facets but the Wolves never let the game get out of hand. Because of that they only lost by five, which is respectable in Laker-land, if you ask me.
The difference was in the three-point shooting tonight. The Lakers shot 45-percent from deep while the Wolves only hit 18-percent of their attempts. Both teams shot 22 threes but it was the quality of shots which helped the Lakers shoot at a better clip. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the “quality” rather the volume of shots Bryant took when he was feeling it in the third quarter. Bryant fired up at the moment when the Wolves needed to make their move. Bryant’s birage of three straight made threes was just too much for the Wolves to fully overcome in the end.
If only one of these two teams had Michael Beasley on the court tonight. The Wolves could’ve used Beasley’s scoring punch in the second unit, where the Lakers didn’t seem to miss a step against the Wolves’ reserves. And the Wolves could’ve used Beasley on the Lakers making dimwitted plays instead of allowing Bryant to heat up when they needed. All kidding aside, the Wolves’ bench has been a major letdown two games in a row now, and the absence of Beasley has actually hurt more than you’d know. JJ Barea greatly struggled to run the offense, forcing erroneous passes into tight spots and chucking up bricks from outside. Anthony Tolliver needs to ditch shooting from his game altogether, and Derrick Williams hasn’t stepped up at all in the last two games.
If the Wolves expect to make a move for that final playoff spot in the West they’ll need the bench to start stepping up consistently. The starters — and by starters I mean Love, Ridnour and Pekovic ONLY — can’t do it all on their own.
It’s not just the bench that’s letting us down, it’s the wings in general on this roster. For the second straight night, no one has stepped up on the wing. On the other side of the ball, Bryant killed us but even Matt Barnes had a huge game. Yes, Matt Barnes. It’s unfair because our wings are young, athletic and should be studs on paper, but night after night they’re the game’s buzzkill instead of the jolt of energy they’re supposed to provide.
The road trip continues Sunday night in Sacramento. A winnable game to say the least that could give them some momentum to get through this road trip unscathed. Unless the scar has already been etched. We’ll just have to wait and see.