Rapid Reaction: Wolves 109, Lakers 99
February, 4, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
MINNEAPOLIS -- So much for the Steves to the rescue.
Sure, Steve Nash and Steve Blake made their long-awaited returns against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, but they didn't turn out to be type of outcome-altering additions one would have hoped for the severely-slumping Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course, it didn't help things that Kobe Bryant (left knee) and Pau Gasol (right groin) were both back in L.A.
Or that Jordan Farmar (left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (right knee) could still only watch from the bench.
Or that Jodie Meeks (sprained right ankle) and Jordan Hill (headache and cervical strain in his neck) both left the game in the first half and did not return.
Nash put up great numbers for not having played in nearly three months (seven points on 3-for-6 shooting and nine assists in 25 minutes) and Blake had six assists, five rebounds and three steals despite rupturing an ear drum in the first half and playing through it.
The fact of the matter is, the Lakers, who have now lost 19 of their past 22 games, need a heck of a lot more than two 30-something-year-old guards back in the lineup to stop their slide.
How it happened: Nick Young hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to draw L.A. to within 91-84 after the Lakers trailed 38-26 after the first quarter and by as many as 25 in the first half. The Wolves quickly pushed the lead back into double digits, prompting a Lakers timeout with 9:09 to go, down 95-84. Young hit another 3 with 5:53 to go to bring L.A. back to within nine. Minnesota led by 10 with 2:31 remaining when Young was fouled on a jumper by Dante Cunningham and sunk both free throws to cut the lead to eight. That was the closest L.A. would get.
What it means: The Lakers' defense continues to be shredded, giving up 100-plus points for the 15th straight game while allowing both Kevin Love and Kevin Martin to score 30-plus points.
Hits: Manny Harris, playing on the final day of his second 10-day contract before the team has to decide whether to waive him or retain him for the rest of the season, let his game plead his case against the Wolves. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting.
Wesley Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench against his former team.
Robert Sacre made the most of his start with 14 points.
Misses: Young scored 24 points but shot just 4-for-12.
L.A. was outrebounded 53-38.
Stat of the game: 25. Love passed Kevin Garnett for the most 30-point, 15-rebound games in Minnesota franchise history, registering his 25th with 31 points and 17 boards against the Lakers.
Up next: The Lakers will attempt to travel through the snow to Cleveland for the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cavaliers, weather permitting. Then they wrap up their three-game trip in Philadelphia on Friday.