Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Darius Soriano —  November 9, 2010

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Records: Lakers 7-0, Timberwolves 1-6
Offensive ratings: Lakers 118.3 (1st in NBA), Timberwolves 96.4 (30th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.3 (10th in NBA), Timberwolves 113.3 (30th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers:Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Timberwolves: Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Darko Milicic
Injuries: Lakers: Andrew Bynum (out); Timberwolves:Johnny Flynn (out), Martell Webster (out), Luke Ridnour (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in:  At this point, there’s little to say about the Lakers besides that they’re rolling. A 7-0 start with the number one offense and a top ten defense has reminded everyone that this is a pretty good team and that maybe looking East for the eventual NBA champ – at least before the season started – was a mistake.  Besides the Hornets, you’d be hard pressed to find a team that has impressed as much to start the year as the Lakers.

But rather than continue to gloat about all the things the Lakers are doing well or nit pick some of the things they could be doing better, I just want to remind everyone that as good as the Lakers look now there will be some down times ahead.  This team will not go 82-0 and, at some point, will underperform in comparison to the lofty level of play they’ve displayed early this year.  And when it does happen, just try to remember these opening games as they’ll serve as a gentle reminder that regardless of how bad this team can look on any given night, they’re still, you know, pretty good.

On a side note, we’ve noticed that in the past few games the roles of the Lakers’ two rookies have been reversed.  Early in the year it was Ebanks that was getting burn and treating the crowd to some above the rim action.  However, since Luke Walton returned Ebanks has been inactive and Derrick Caracter has suited up and gotten some playing time in Phil’s big man rotation.  Recently Phil said that once Bynum is back, both rooks will likely be inactive and could see some time in the D-League.  For more on this topic, you can go over to the great site D-League Digest and read up on what this means for the rookies.

The Timberwolves Coming in:  There aren’t too many positives to discuss when it comes to the ‘Wolves.  If the Lakers are at the top end of the spectrum of NBA teams, the ‘Wolves are on the complete opposite end.  They’re 1-6 and are last in offensive AND defensive efficiency – which is quite a feat.  Their roster lacks quality depth and a couple of their better players (Flynn and Webster) are out injured.  Their best player – Kevin Love – doesn’t seem to get along with the head coach and only plays 27 minutes a game even though he’s averaging a double-double.  I don’t want to pile on, but this franchise is a mess from the top down and I’m unsure what could turn it around, save for a complete house cleaning.  When looking at their team stats, the one thing they do do well is rebound, so they’ve got that going for them.  Normally I try to find a few things to bring up that can paint a team in a positive light, but in this case it’s just too hard.  This team is probably the worst in the league and it seems like it could be some time before it gets any better.

Timberwolves BlogsA Wolf Among Wolves is a great site that pumps out fantastic work all the time. You should be reading it. Go over there now (we’ll still be here when you get back). It’s that good.

Keys to game:  The last time I thought the Lakers would man handle a team was this past Friday against the Raptors.  What proceeded was a geeked up Raptors team that came ready to play and a Lakers team that went through the motions for most of the contest while potentially looking ahead to a better foe two days later.  Tonight breaks down the same way with the ‘Wolves in town and a road game in Denver waiting on Thursday.  Let’s see if the Lakers can learn from last week and dominate the game from start to finish and not get caught day dreaming about an opponent that is still 48 hours away.

From an X’s and O’s standpoint, getting this win is pretty straight forward.  As mentioned, the ‘Wolves don’t do much well so the Lakers should just concentrate on executing on both sides of the ball and let their superior talent carry them to a W.  No need to force the ball into the player with the biggest mismatch because nearly every Laker is playing with an advantage tonight.  I can’t say this enough, just run the sets.  Make the correct pass then proceed to cut and screen hard.  On defense, pressure when possible, don’t over-help or gamble for steals, and just play sound position defense.  And since the ‘Wolves actually rebound the ball well, be sure to box out (especially on Love) to secure the ball and finish possessions.

One last note, despite the gulf in talent that exists between these two teams one thing I’ll be keeping a close eye on is if Rambis’ familiarity with the Lakers schemes leads to an ability to disrupt the Lakers’ sets.  Will Rambis have his guys deny the wing entry?  Will he have them half or fully front the post?  Will he send double teams on the dribble after Pau and Kobe make their initial moves with the ball?  These are all little things that have given the Lakers fits in the past and a coach with Rambis’ insider knowledge should know these things.  It will be interesting to see how much Rambis tries to throw off the Lakers and how many wrinkles he uses to try and keep the game close.  If I were him I’d be pulling out all the stops. 

Where you can watch:  7:30PM start time out west on Fox Sports West.  Also listen live on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

108 responses to Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. For Warren! (Not that it’s needed against these losers…)

    And Kurt, how about a little of the Beach Boy’s nephew tonight?

  2. I don’t think ‘geeked up’ means what you think it means.

  3. It’s hard to feel too bad for someone making $2 million a year to coach basketball, but you have to have a little bit of empathy for Kurt Rambis.

    I can’t imagine the transition that comes with leaving Southern California, a team that’s almost always been a contender, and the league’s best owner and arguably its best organization to head off to a frigid iceworld where fans (rightfully) don’t care or show up, the GM has a track record of failure and the playoffs will never be any closer away than the distance between your living room TV and sofa.

    Talk about a 180 degree flip. That’s a helluva price to pay for the chance to be “The Guy” on the bench.

  4. i’m jus sayin’ November 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Kurt is trying too hard to prove he is not a Laker.

  5. Those videos a wolv among wolves are hilarious…beasley yelling at teammate and most awkward handshake…HILARIOUS!!!

  6. #2. Does it not mean excited? I know it has other connotations, but describing their hyped and excited nature during the game is what I meant.

  7. i feel bad for rambis. the wolves look like quicksand – and rubio shows no interest in crossing the atlantic. and rambis is in a bind if he can’t get along with K love, but i would suspect rambis is preaching defense and love is not really hearing it, although he grabbed quite a few defensive boards the last game.

  8. I loved Rambis back in the Rambis Youth days, but I must say I have little sympathy for him: he knowingly took a terrible job to make the leap to Head Coach and somehow quickly become estranged from the only player on that team that matters now that Jefferson is gone. By most accounts, his rigid adherence to the triangle is to blame– somehow he doesn’t think Love fits into that system and he steadfastly refuses to consider devising a new system around the players he has, as if it’s somehow smarter to force square pegs into round holes. Even Phil is more flexible than that but more importantly, Minn isn’t the Lakers: ownership isn’t going to go fetch him Pau Gasol (nor do players necessarily want to go hang in the tundra answering questions about KG and Rubio all the time).

    His obvious alternative would have been to bide his time with the Lakers, pick up another couple of rings, and be the heir apparent when Phil steps down (or wait for a more promising job… like say, any other team in the NBA and several in the WNBA). I’m sure $2M goes a long way in Minneapolis (it would probably buy every piece of real estate not already owned by Prince), but he and his agents must have known he was taking a huge gamble with this job and either hubris or greed or desperation resulted in him signing on the bottom line. Even Scott deserves some empathy for there being at least a chance that LBJ would hang around, but Minnesota?! Difficult to imagine how this will result in anything other than a college job in the future, but Santa Clara’s a nice place…

    Am I too harsh? I have sympathy for the hoodwinked, not for those who took the cash and then ‘woke up’ to their new reality.

  9. The good news for Laker fans is that there is a pretty good chance that Rambis will be back on the Laker bench next year. I know its early but it just feels like its over for him and Kahn already.

    Tonight is about coming out to dominate early and take care of business. It’s games like these which offer a good barometer of much professionalism the team has.

  10. As for the rookies playing in the D-league. I don’t really buy into the con offered. Its almost a lock that regardless of what they do this season the minutes for Ebanks and Character will be minimal as the season progresses and probably non existent come play off time. Thus the possible upside that can be gained from knowing the offense is negligible. On the other hand, there is considerable possible upside for each player to getting consistent minutes and coaching focused on improving them as players. I was happy to be able to see them play this season and I think they benefit from experiencing what NBA minutes are like but time for both of them to go school.

  11. Is it me, or are the Lakers never ever first on Hollinger’s list?

    http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    What would it take for them to claim the top spot? Probably something in the neighborhood of an 82–0 season. (But even then, he’d most likely work out some formula that had the Heat ranked as #1: “I’ve turned away from point differential in favor of points scored by players named Lebron – it’s the only credible stat out there!!!”)

    Oh well, he can keep dreaming up those rankings while I have me some PAU:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thzqmMuncV8&p=E7D0BF2EFC3BEC99

  12. DS says, “This team will not go 82-0.”

    How about 33-0 going into January?

    Or am I just too geeked up?

  13. @#11 Andreas, who cares where Hollinger or other people rank the Lakers. The only ranking I’d care about is at the end of the season. If the Lakers manage to pull of the threepeat and raise the trophy again, that’s just more fodder for my amusement when I look at the rankings.

  14. I, too, would like to know what else “geeked up” means.

  15. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the “Urban Dictionary” def’n of geeked-up. and even if you do, I’d think you can get geeked up from many different drugs, and even on adrenaline, by extension.

  16. “Geeeked up” for Kurt’s team means having some players wear those awful glasses Kurt R used to wear when he was playing for the Lakers.

    On the upside for me: I got tickets for tonights game. On the floor.

    Yes!!

  17. #16. Randy,
    If you get any good insight from being so close, let us know later. Have fun.

  18. I tend to think the Wolves are great rebounding team due to the fact that they give up the most points and have the worst FGA% in the NBA. Simply put, they miss the most and give up the most scoring opportunities.

    That’s means there are A LOT of chances to rebound, with no reward.

  19. This is the equivalent game that I attended last year on my trip to the US. Sadly it was also the game where Kobe banged up his finger. Hopefully not having to field Jordan Farmar passes will mean there’s no repeat. We don’t want specific teams to become injury threats (we’ve already seen how that works with Drew’s knee!).

    Hoping for a 15 point win, with no starters from about the 9 minute mark of the 4th…

  20. #18. wondahbap!
    I’d tend to agree with you. But, I also think they have good rebounders. I mean, they’re top 10 in defensive rebound rate and top 5 in offensive rebound rate. So, they are doing something right when the ball is missed.

    In the end though, they’re so bad at everything else, I’d do agree with your premise.

  21. I’ve noticed the Lakers seem to be lower-ranked than whoever is the #1 team, so today I glanced through the stats (and 7-8 games is really not a great sample size)–Miami has a stronger strength of schedule, which probably pushes them up somewhat, and his accompanying piece also mentioned they’re a top-3 defensive team, where the Lakers are around 11th.

    Granted, the irrational fan in me wants to scream at Hollinger, “Of course they have a stronger strength of schedule! They’ve LOST TWICE.”

    But small sample size, blah blah. We’ll see where they are in a couple of months–when it gets to the minimum number of games where he can sample the last 25% of opponents instead of the last 10 is where it actually starts to lock numbers in realistically.

    BTW, I’d like to go on record with my Miami prediction for the season: 61-21, with a small caveat: They’re going to go about 38-3 against teams below .500 and 23-18 against teams over .500. If there was ever a team that could whomp on the little guys and likely end up struggling against the big ones, this is it–lots of scoring, competent defense, no size.*

    And I think Boston comes out of the East, one last time.

    * If Riley manages to trade for a competent (a player like Kendrick Perkins, for example) 5, this prediction is null and void. They still won’t win this year, but they’ll look scary.

  22. Darius,

    You do have a point. The Wolves just can’t do anything to reward their rebounding. The best example of that would be our Lakers. #2 in Total Rebounding. Except they defend well, force missed shots, make baskets, have a 7-0 record, and 13.8 scoring margin to boot. Yay.

  23. Hollinger hasn’t touched his formula in years.

    The mistake is ESPN’s framing it as a “Power Ranking” (which has no real definition anyways). Hollinger’s system should not be meant to say #1 is always better than #2. All it is saying is “Miami’s combination of point differential and strength of schedule are tops in the league.”

    However, in these ranking there is useful info (as opposed to a purely subjective ranking). For instance, Houston is #8 I think despite being 1-5. The system is predicting them to be better than that record indicates. It also “believes” that Memphis is better than we think and OKC is worse.

    Those outliers are where you should really look in Hollinger’s numbers. Otherwise, just know that the top 5 teams are likely to be better than the next 5 teams, which themselves are better than the next 5, etc.

    It is a general guide, not an absolute measure of worth.

  24. J.D. Hastings,
    After your explanation, just exactly why should we care a ‘whit’ about Hollinger’s ratings, again???

  25. Does anybody think this could be a trap game?

    I think Darko usually plays better against us than anybody else I see him play (granted that’s not very often). while Love and Beasley can do a lot more than they have so far this season… Also, Minnesota has a lot of players at the 4/5 positions so I think it is quite possible that Pau has an off night.

    I hope Minnesota can turn their season around soon… just not against the Lakers.

  26. I agree with Gabriel from the last post that it would be really interesting to have a post dedicated to rankings and examining their results. Maybe not all rankings, but say Hollinger’s to start.

    I would be very interested in seeing the last 5 years predictions on a quarterly basis and comparing them to the results on a quarterly and season ending results. I understand that stats can be manipulated to pretty much prove whatever hypothesis a writer intends to prove. But in the end these rankings are proven true or not when the champion is crowned.

    How have the Lakers been rated over the years and what were the end results? I wish I had the time and the smarts to do a complex examination, but alas I don’t. Does anyone with the time and resources want to take this on for of our inquiring Laker fans?

  27. Yeah, sounds nice. At the end of last season per Hollinger the Lakers and Celtics had a combined 1% chance of winning the title. Some “guide”.

  28. I don’t know if you have heard the news now, but Pacers just filed 54 points on the 3rd quarter alone!

  29. I agree with Bobji that there is a potential for tonight to be a trap game. Minnesota has been crushed the past couple of games by 20, 32, 42, 10, and 26 points. The Lakers could simply look past this team because Minnesota has played so horrible.

    Also with Denver coming up on Thursday the Lakers could be caught looking ahead. Denver is going to be coming hard especially following this blowout against the Pacers. 100 points given up through 3 quarters. Ouch.

    However, the Lakers are showing one hell of a killer instinct thus far in the season. I can see them easily putting Minnesota away early with Kobe rebounding from his poor performance last game.

    I hope the game isn’t out of hand too early since I have Kevin Love & Lamar on my fantasy team and I kind of need their production this week. Hopefully Kevin Love can break 30 minutes tonight. Even though he won’t need it to get a double-double.

  30. 8) L’il pau,
    The problem is that head coaching opportunities are very rare. Rambis might never get another chance at one, and there is no guarantee that he would be the next Lakers choice.

  31. holy crap.. Utah has come back to take a narrow lead over the Heat in the 4th, after trailing by more than twenty in the first half.

  32. I’m hoping Minny stays with their long-term plan with Kahn and Rambis after this season, which could be historically awful. That way, B-Shaw takes over next season and the front office isn’t tempted to choose Rambis. Plus, we continue to be able to mock Kahn every time he makes another head-scratching personnel decision.
    http://www.instantsfun.es/khaaan

  33. Dude (heh), have some mercy on the Minnesotans! They have crap weather as it is.

  34. How about the Nuggets completely forgetting how to defend?

    Jesus, the Pacers had 144 points – and they hit 20 of 21 from the field in the third quarter. The Indiana Pacers. 64.4% shooting from the field.

  35. Watching the Heat-Jazz game and the referees really want the Heat to win this game. Millsap with 3 three-pointers in a row. Dude’s a beast with 42 points.

  36. OMG please give it to Millsap. Please.

  37. Millsap just randomly unconscious from deep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him make a 3 pointer before!

    Dare we hope for 1 more?

  38. OMG PAUL MILLSAP JUST TIED THE GAME. He scored, what, 14 points in the last minute?

  39. Yes! Millsap with the putback sends the game into OT!

  40. Millsap for MVP!:)

  41. Thank goodness for Millsap.

    Not just for sending the game to OT, but also because he’s on my fantasy team.

  42. It’s a shame Deron’s fouled out for OT.

  43. 42 – Yup. Running an offense through Fesenko typically won’t generate a win for you.

  44. Basically, Erik Spoelstra’s really sweating for his job now. Poor guy – he’s the only one I feel sorry for in that organization.

  45. Looks like the Hornets will remain undefeated.

  46. Simonoid – I think you’re right about Spoelestra. He must just be coaching with his fingers crossed that every game runs perfectly for them. And when it doesn’t (like today), that stress must build up…

    That’s some clutch work at the line by Elson.

  47. WOW. The referees REALLY bailing the Jazz out.

  48. Now the Jazz need to zone up with 0.4 left. Last time I checked, the Heat don’t have Derek Fisher.

    Damn, Elson trying his hardest to miss yet still banks it in.

  49. Elson is a pure scorer. Can’t miss even if he tries.

  50. brian wilson’s beard. November 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    last year it was sundiata gaines. this year it’s paul millsap. leQuitness crushed by the jazz again.

  51. @47. If you’re referring to the foul that sent Elson to the line, it was an obvious hack from the straight-on, opposite basket angle. Plus Miami shot 47 FTs to the Jazz 21 for the game. One other thing – this could be the best game all season. The Jazz hit four 3-pointers and one putback layup in the final 24 seconds to send it into OT.

  52. So the formula to beat the Heat’s nicely established now, isn’t it? So far, they’ve managed to make Okafor look like Moses Malone and Millsap look like Karl Malone. Here’s hoping Pau goes Olajuwon and Bynum going (young, not overweight) Shaq on them when it’s our turn.

  53. Dude, yes I was – but I’m thinking back to the officiating all game and somehow, I’d bet that 9 times out of 10, considering the situation (less than a second left, officials loving Wade), that game-deciding foul isn’t called.

  54. HEAT lose, HEAT lose, HEAT lose…oh who cares!

    But it looks like PF/C is definitely their weakest link. If I were the cHEAT, I’d trade Bosh for Okafor and David West. Bosh is definitely overrated and may cost them a championship or two. Thank God we didn’t trade for him.

  55. That Heat/Jazz game was fantastic. Not necessarily because the Heat lost but because of the intensity down the stretch and the amazing shot making that was going on. Wade was fantastic (that dunk was ridiculous and that three to tie the game in OT was super clutch). But he was countered by Millsap who was a monster. And that finish was just great with the foul and the FT’s getting buried to close it out.

    Also, I give a ton of credit to Sloan. He rolled with Fesenko when Jefferson wasn’t getting it done and had Ronny Price running the offense when Deron went out with fouls. That man can coach.

  56. Miami Heat 4-3
    Cleveland Cavs 4-3

    And we wondered how the Cavs could win a game without Lebron–and we were sure that the Heat couldn’t lose a game with Lebron.

    I wonder how Hollinger handles this one?

  57. drrayeye, line of the year right there.

  58. I’m in TN again, does anyone have a link?

  59. Simonoid – I was similarly shocked to see them actually call that on Wade. Although it is certainly a play where he would be expecting to get the call if he was trying to win the game…

    drrayeye – I’m just waiting for the inevitable article about how LBJ’s triple-double today was far better than Kobe’s or Pau’s in the past week. Come on Hollinger/Abbott/ESPN in general – don’t let me down!

  60. brian wilson’s beard. November 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    55. 56. not to burst anyone’s bubble but the Heat are 5-3 and the Cavs are 4-3.

    the Cavs play the Nets again tomorrow on the second of a back to back over at the Q. So, let’s cheer for Cleveland and that line can hold true.

  61. IMO this is the best Laker team since the 2001-02 championship team. The one that nearly went undefeated in the playoffs.

    They are loaded everywhere. Jackson’s job is to try and keep them interested, which, with this bunch is going to be a chore. But, he didn’t win 11 championships for nothing. If anyone can do it, he can.

  62. Kobe on the glass early. Could be an impressive statistical game in store (accompanied by a long rest in the 4th!).

  63. brian wilson’s beard. November 9, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    on another note, did anyone see the highlights of the pacer nuggets game? indiana hit their first 20 shots of the 3rd quarter and missed shot 21 with 3 seconds to go in the period. 54 points were scored in the quarter.

    what a weird day so far….

  64. 47.Simonoid wrote on November 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm
    WOW. The referees REALLY bailing the Jazz out.

    —————-

    Not sure how when the Heat should 47 free throws and the Jazz shoot 21 free throws, that the Refs are “bailing out the Jazz.” Should that number be 1500 to 2 in favor of the Heat for the refs to be officiating a fair game?

  65. Derek Fisher just took someone off the dribble leisurely. Derek Fisher. Leisurely.

    And some people actually wonder why the Wolves have the worst defense in the league.

  66. #62: I wrote this a little earlier in this thread (comment 35).

    “Watching the Heat-Jazz game and the referees really want the Heat to win this game.”

    But I like said to dude, considering the situation at that time, I was surprised to hear the whistle.

  67. anyone have a working stream?

  68. kaveh:

    http://atdhe.net/27879/watch-minnesota-timberwolves-vs-los-angeles-lakers

    Loving how we play down to our competition on a consistent basis.

  69. Anyone have Kobe’s +/- compared to Shannon’s +/- so far this season? Anyhow have it at their fingertips? (I’m sure I could find it with a bit of hunting, just thought someone might be onto it already.)

  70. #66: Thank you

  71. I just watched the game. Anyone knows why we are up by 2 against the Wolves?

  72. Same as always, Mark. Why else?

  73. When Luke comes this early in this game, you know there’s something wrong. ;)

    To think that we are fighting a 1-6 team who has been blown out by teams. I have a question though, guys, is it more on the matchups this game? Or the Lakers being the Lakers?

  74. Definitely not coming as smoothly today. You wouldn’t recognise this team if you saw the Portland game.

    Still giving up too many offensive boards. But to be honest, I don’t actually feel overly concerned (hopefully the players are a little less laissez faire than me!).

  75. Wow.

    Kobe seems to be enjoying heat checking himself on threes even more than usual this season.

    And so far, that’s generally been a good thing!

  76. AusPhil: better now than Thursday in Denver. I don’t really like this out-of-offense straying Kobe. I’ve been so used to the let’s-dump-it-in-and-see-what-Pau can do Kobe that’s been spoiling us the last 7 games.

  77. You know what’s a problem though? When they have 15 offensive boards to our 14 defensive ones. Keep this up and we’ll really need a hot Kobe to preserve the lead.

  78. Valid point about it being better today than in Denver. They’ll be hurting after today’s loss, and we don’t want to just hand them a home win.

    And we all keep saying it (it was an issue last season too at times), but our defensive rebounding just has to improve. Getting killed in that area too often.

  79. I also just started to watch the game, I thought somehow the wrong game was on my TV, I mean should not the mighty Lakers be up by more than this trivial amount of change to the lowly Wolves.

  80. 56, I never doubted the Cavs. I always thought that Lebron’s supporting cast was much better than everyone made them out to be. Hickson has grown into a double-double machine, and Boobie Gibson has really stepped up his game. They probably won’t make the playoffs, but they’re definitely not going to be Timberwolves bad. One can only hope that the sneak into the 8th seed and play Miami in the first round. That series will be a war.

  81. hey simonoid, we lost our link, anyone got a new one?

  82. 18 offensive rebounds. That’s 31% chance of getting one when a shot goes up. Is it frustrating? Yes. Will the Wolves win? No. But it still is frustrating.

  83. What part of ‘box out Kevin Love’ did our guys forget about?

  84. Anyone got a link that does not require an access code?

  85. Gotta keep the Love Machine off the boards.

  86. Seen more travelling calls in this game than in 20+ years of watching the NBA

  87. Ron Artest is a pretty physical guy down low. I think he is boxing him out, but Love is making the read and going where he thinks the ball is going to go. Gotta give credit to the guy. That’s an insane rebound line.

  88. Kevin Love is a very good player.

    Career: 26.7 Minutes, 10.0 Rebounds, 12.6 Points.

    Sure, his 45% FG% means he is not your primary option, but seriously, how can he not have been getting starting minutes last year and this year?

    Love his hustle, love his nose for rebounds, wish he was a Laker.

  89. ROFL @ Maurice Ager.

  90. I hope to see Ebanks on the 4th instead of Luke. Luke can’t shoot that three, therefore, making it harder for Pau to have a good look because they could just double Pau and not worry about Luke. Plus Luke can’t slash.

    So Phil puts in two of the slowest frontcourt combo in history.

  91. luke walton, chemistry-killer.

  92. The Laker girls are the most entertaining thing I’ve seen thus far in the 4th quarter

  93. Question to Phil: If Luke is your son, shouldn’t he be just sitting beside you as well? You know, family-time. ;) Just askin’.

    Rebound watch: Kevin Love is just two rebounds away to match the Lakers’ starting frontcourt’s.

  94. … Rebecca Harlowe is scary on HD…

    or is it just me??

  95. I am glad no one gave me a link to the game because all I see on gamecast is turnover turnover turnover and more turnovers, and a pitiful 7 points put up in this quarter so far. I think it is safe to say this team had Denver more on their minds than the Wolves

  96. Is there a reason why Kobe is taking all these ill-advised shots?

    I know Kobe is Kobe, but I thought he has been playing well within the flow of offense thus far in the season.

    Maybe because he hasn’t “gotten his” in a while?

  97. Lakers are getting beat on the boards and are still up with just a few minutes left. Not sure if this shows how lackadaisical the Lakers are playing right now or how bad the T-Wolves are, but a W is still a W and we need to get that W.

    Also, I’m going to say something that may get laughed at… But this is the first time I’ve felt the Lakers aren’t just Kobe and everyone following him, but the team moving as a group forward.

  98. @Darius or Zephid, how bad did LO’s foul trouble hurt the Lakers offensive efficiency this game?

  99. Sadly the fans will probably get tacos for this game, and they will have been the most ill-gotten tacos of all time. OF ALL TIME.

  100. It’s interesting to see how many of those turnovers were because of the Timberwolves and not the “defense” of LA. Minnesota lost this one for them. Looking forward to the recap. A win is a win, though.

  101. “Minnesota lost this one for them.” Which is what bad teams do. The Lakers know this as well and they played accordingly. After watching Phil Jackson Laker teams for more than 10 years now, you know these kinds of games against “bad” teams will happen more than they should. In the end it has been shown that these poor performances against mediocre teams are not a predictor of anything and in the great scheme of things mean absolutely nothing. Laker fans shouldn’t overanalize this one.

  102. Damn…our rating is going to drop so much in the all-important Hollinger Power Rankings that I’m going to need five White Russians to drown my sorrow :(

  103. #101. Mark,
    You mean I have to recap this thing? Ha. I’m only kidding. Kind of. I’ll have the recap in a little while. I don’t start writing until after the game ends…

  104. Darius, I’ll write it for you:
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 99-94 in a game they didn’t really care about enough to expend much energy. I wouldn’t read anything into this game, as the Lakers showed that they’re not very inspired to beat bad teams that do only one thing well (offensive rebounding). Kevin Love had 23 points and 24 rebounds for Minnesota. Not bad for a part-time player. Kobe shot the ball a lot and made just enough of his shots to help the team win. THE END
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    That’s about how long it should take. Minnesota’s so bad that we shouldn’t dwell on this game for anything more than five minutes.

  105. Minnesota is so bad that ______.

    you can play abysmally and still win.
    you can give up 26 OREBs and still win.
    you can allow Darko to score 10 and still win.

    and so on.