Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening road contest at Minnesota the Lakers looking to bounce back from back-to-back road defeats, 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, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Wolves: R. Rubio, L. Ridnour, W. Johnson, D. Williams, N. Pekovic
12:00 Among Mike Brown’s pregame comments: let’s share the ball (he was talking to his players through the media). It’s a simple point, that when the Lakers move the ball, they win games, and when they don’t, the opportunity to win is more difficult. That was to Brown what went wrong in Washington and Detroit, though he did hedge his statement a bit by saying the ball movement was a bit better than he initially thought when he checked out the tape.
3:00 The Lakers couldn’t have started the game much worse, committing seven turnovers in the first seven minutes, and just generally looking listless as the Wolves were the much more active team. L.A. thus got only 12 shots up, to Minnesota’s 21 plus nine free throws, resulting in a 26-16 Wolves lead even after two straight Wolves buckets.
0:00 Minnesota took a 33-21 lead out of the break, thanks to those Lakers turnovers and subpar energy, plus 12 points from Derrick Williams in Kevin Love’s absence (he was a late scratch with back spasms). This was the Lakers team of the second halves against Detroit and Washington, not the first.
5:00 Leading L.A.’s bench was McRoberts, who posted five boards with his two assists and four points in 10 minutes, which along with some positive minutes from Matt Barnes (on his 31st birthday) had the Lakers bench outplaying its starters, for once.
3:36 Another strong move from Bynum (we say another as it was his sixth field goal in seven attempts cut Minnesota’s lead down to six, L.A.’s starters starting to show some of the same energy that the bench provided. World Peace was also key, grabbing consecutive offensive rebounds to total four of his nine points, and seven straight since he added a three.
9:30 An 8-0 run for the Lakers started things right in the second half, with Fisher and Bryant nailing back-to-back threes, and Kobe getting a steal and a dunk on the other end to get L.A. within one. The Lakers missed an opportunity by turning the ball over and allowing back-to-back Wolves threes, but Fisher hit again to make it 64-59.
5:00 Bryant’s pull-up J in the paint gave him 19 points on 7-of-18 field goals, his third straight rough shooting game on the road, Stu Lantz wondering on KCAL 9 if his legs are a bit tired from all the effort he’s putting out since breaking his nose and suffering a concussion over All-Star weekend. Nonetheless, L.A. had pulled within two points with a strong push out of halftime.
0:00 Kobe’s best push of the game helped L.A. tie for the first time since it was 4-all, at 78, cutting all nine points off Minnesota’s halftime lead. He was up to 26 points, all of a sudden, 12 in the period, despite 9-for-23 shooting. Fisher was the other key to the quarter, hitting three triples to get L.A. to 6-of-12 on the evening.
9:00 Four straight points from Bynum got him up to 22 with nine boards, and the Lakers their biggest lead of the game at a modest three points, 86-83. Brown started the fourth with both Bynum and Gasol in the game, a rarity, and that helped L.A. control the paint at both ends (as one might expect).
2:41 A strong bench effort from McRoberts concluded with 1-of-2 free throws off his offensive board, his seventh of the evening, and two terrific plays from Bynum (a swat of Rubio and resulting alley-oop hammer dunk on the other end) gave L.A. its biggest lead at 99-95.
0:00 Minnesota responded with a 5-0 run, capped by Ridnour’s three, to take a 1-point lead, but Bynum got a goaltending call to put L.A. back in front moments later. Then in the final minute, it was Kobe Bryant nailing all four of his free throws, and Gasol coming up with the key block to seal the victory for L.A. It was the opposite of the previous two losses at Detroit and Washington, as the Lakers played well in the second half after a poor first half. With the win, L.A. improves to 24-16 on the season heading into Sunday’s matchup with Boston. We’ll see you there.