Never Scared: Timberwolves 109, Lakers 99


You were never REALLY worried, right?

About the game, of course. If you were worried about Kevin Love when he took a nasty fall, snapping his neck back and smacking it on the floor, welcome to the club. I gasped a little, mostly closed my eyes through all of the slow motion replays, and worried that we had just seen Love knock himself out of the next few games with a nasty concussion.

We hadn’t. Love was fine, incredibly (and even more incredibly given Minnesota’s history of injury woes), and he finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds, a mind-boggling statline that — from Kevin Love — mostly makes us say “huh.” That should tell you something about how great he is right now.

The game itself, though? Were you really concerned? Did you REALLY think this Lakers squad, led in scoring by Nick Young and Manny Harris for crying out loud, was going to be able to complete a comeback, even with Steve Nash back?

I, for one, did not. A pair of Nick Young free throws with just over two minutes left brought LA to within eight, but Kevin Martin drained a jumper and Ricky Rubio answered Harris’ layup with one of his own. The win broke Minnesota’s 11-game losing streak on its home floor to the Lakers — a disgusting number outgrossed (wrong usage, but whatever) only by Minnesota’s well-documented losing streak to LA that was broken previously this year.

For tonight, we won’t talk much about playoff implications, other than to note that Minnesota is back to .500 and is treading water while Pekovic misses games. The next few may be tough, but this is the Western Conference. Things might get dicey. Also, it’s worth noting that if Kevins Love and Martin both score over 30 points and Ricky Rubio dishes out 13 assists with just two turnovers, the Wolves have an excellent chance of beating just about anybody.

The same problems exist. Gorgui Dieng deserves some minutes. JJ Barea is the only bench player who can score consistently. Rubio doesn’t really want to shoot, for better or worse.

But the Wolves are noticeably, obviously better than the Lakers. If nothing else, that’s a start.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.