From Mike Truddell, Basket Blog: Purple and gold jerseys were nearly as omnipresent at London’s sold out O2 Arena as they are in STAPLES Center during the NBA’s opening preseason game in the United Kingdom, but the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Lakers 111-92 on Monday evening. Kobe Bryant (knee) played for only the first six minutes of the contest and Pau Gasol 20 as Phil Jackson gave considerable playing time to his bench. The Wolves played well throughout, showing their youthful exuberance in sprinting out to a big third quarter lead after the Lakers held a one-point lead at halftime. “I thought our guys did a really good job in the effort department,” said Wolves coach Kurt Rambis. “I see the reality of it too. Kobe played a little under six minutes. I coached under Phil. He’s looking at a time sheet and giving players as much playing time as possible. They don’t have the mindset to come out and win games. We’re a young team, we want to try and win with every opportunity we’re on the floor.”
From Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times: London was calling, but Kobe Bryant was sitting. Continuing a slow and gradual comeback from off-season knee surgery, Bryant played only the first six minutes and was scoreless in the Lakers’ 111-92 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in an exhibition opener Monday. He missed all three of his shots, including two three-point attempts. Bryant had two assists and a rebound. A series of “Ko-be” chants bounced around O2 Arena in the second half but Bryant stayed on the bench, by design. “I wanted to get up and get in, but I already had the shoes unlaced, ice on the knees,” he said. “Knees were frozen. At that point I couldn’t get back in. lt felt great to still get out there and play and run around a little bit. Coach Rambis just gave me a big hug and thanked me for not playing.” That would be Timberwolves Coach Kurt Rambis, who beat mentor Phil Jackson for the first time, albeit in an exhibition game.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: 1. It’s a preseason game. The result doesn’t matter.But the Lakers didn’t play pretty, either, in their 111-92 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. They looked like they weren’t even trying in the second half. They went 18 for 33 from the free-throw line. They collected 22 turnovers and 33 fouls. That’s why they call them exhibition games. Their defense was suspect. There’s no need to look into the aforementioned statistics too much. Championship teams tend to pace themselves during such contests, while teams looking to improve hope the preseason serves as a barometer for the season. Still, the Lakers will need to have a stronger showing than that this month. Even in a game that was far from pretty, though, there were a few notes of interest.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: The Lakers traveled halfway across the world to officially open their three-peat bid with a haphazard 111-92 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Los Angeles’ first exhibition game of the season, and suddenly it seems Kobe Bryant‘s surgically repaired right knee might be a world away from being fully healed. “I’m probably about 60 percent,” Bryant said. Bryant’s knee was operated on in late July for the third time since 2003. He had to have the knee drained in between Games 4 and 5 of L.A.’s first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder last spring. After the Lakers beat the Celtics to capture the championship in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Bryant claimed that removing the excess fluid in the knee improved his health for the rest of the postseason.