Below is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest in Minneapolis as the Lakers looked to win a third straight road contest, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Wolves: S. Telfair, W. Johnson, M. Beasley, K. Love, D. Milicic
6:29 It wasn’t the hottest of starts in cold Minneapolis for the Lakers, who conceded an uncontested tip-in from Darko Milicic and Sebastian Telfair’s similarly uncontested layup moments later in an 11-all tie halfway through the first period. The Wolves were an excited bunch, playing in front of what some staffers said was the biggest crowd of the last three years.
0: 54.1 L.A.’s bench B’s came in and provided an immediate spark with a nasty Shannon Brown hammer dunk in transition (I believe he violated Minneapolis – St. Paul air space) and a Matt Barnes three-pointer, but Minnesota was able to answer with jumpers from Luke Ridnour and Michael Beasley to take a 21-20 lead out of the first quarter.
8:30 Barnes followed a Brown three with six straight points, giving him nine points in his seven minutes on the floor to push the Lakers quickly to a 32-26 lead.
4:50 After a somewhat uninspiring first quarter, the Lakers found the rhythm that carried them through two professional victories at Milwaukee and Detroit, using an 8-0 run to cap a 24-7 start to the second, opening a 44-28 lead in a suddenly quieted Target Center.
0:50.0 Did you know that Derek Fisher came into the game second in the NBA in three-point shooting by hitting 60 percent of his bombs? He stayed nice and heated here in Minnesota, making his second of the period in two attempts to stop a mini-run from the Wolves. Bryant added two tough jumpers, and the lead was 51-41 heading into halftime.
9:20 Perhaps improbably, Milicic as going nuts for the Wolves, getting up to a game-high 17 points with his game-high 11 rebounds and game-high six blocks. Nonetheless, the Lakers held a 56-46 advantage.
3:34Gasol had to be replaced around the six-minute mark after picking up his fourth foul, this after hitting three straight shots to make up for a 1-for-7 first half, and his replacement Derrick Caracter stepped right in and hit two shots in the paint, the second putting L.A. up 74-59.
1:43 No Laker had a better thing going than Barnes, who was really terrific in the period while scoring 10 of his 19 points all on three-pointers (3-for-3) plus a foul shot he earned on one of the makes, leading L.A. to an 84-70 edge into the fourth.
9:12 OK, make that completely NBA JAM “He’s on fire!” for Barnes, who drained his seventh shot, five of them threes, in seven attempts for a team-high 22 points.
4:45 Gasol made sure to show everyone why his uncharacteristically poor first half, in which he scored only two points with five rebounds, was nothing about which to worry: he scored 14 second half points with nine boards to check out with 16 points, 14 boards as well as six assists. By the way, the Lakers had completely taken control, leading 106-81.
0:00 And so wrapped up an impressive, all-business 3-0 road trip, the Lakers taking a 17-point victory out of Minnesota thanks in part to Barnes’ outstanding bench contribution. L.A.’s now 11-2 on the season heading back home to face Golden State on Sunday. Until then, your numbers:
0 Points for Kevin Love, who struggled to finish at the rim or get around Team USA teammate Lamar Odom. Love missed all seven of his shots from the field, while Odom finished with 11 points, eight boards and seven assists, the latter stat leading L.A.
23 Career-high point total reached by Minnesota’s Darko Milicic, who added 16 boards, five assists and six blocks in an impressive all-around effort.
29.6 Kobe Bryant’s field goal percentage on 8-of-27 attempts. Bryant looked down at his arthritic index finger that he broke last December against the Wolves a few times, and struggled to find a rhythm throughout. Phil Jackson had mentioned previously that Bryant sometimes struggled with his shot after days off from practice, which he had on Thursday.
62 Derek Fisher’s three-point percentage on the season after he drained both of his attempts in Minnesota, good for second in the NBA. Fish finished 5-of-5 from the field for 12 points.
100 Shooting percentage in the game for Matt Barnes, who nailed all seven of his field goals and all five of his three-pointers for 24 points off the bench to lead L.A. Barnes also added seven rebounds and six assists without committing a turnover in a fantastic all-around game, easily his best as a Laker.