From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: It took nearly three quarters before the Lakers finally looked like the Lakers at the Target Center. After tying the game at 58 with a 15 footer, Kobe Bryant drilled a three pointer and set up Lamar Odom at the rim with a slick fake shot-pass. The flood gates proceeded to open as expected when the two-time defending champions face a team waiting for Ricky Rubio to save them. Between the 4:38 mark of the third quarter and the 6:26 mark of the fourth, the Lakers enjoyed a 22-5 run. Order was restored and the inevitable conclusion was met. Before that, however, the Lakers were colder than any of the “Minnesota weather” jokes inevitably tossed around as shots refused to fall.
From Ben Polk, A Wolf Among Wolves: The Timberwolves and the Lakers are both NBA basketball teams. Both contain verifiable NBA players with the curiously long limbs, ridiculous skills and endless supplies of spray-on deoderant to prove it (trust me). But there are some fundamental differences here that go beyond even the obvious (the murderer’s row of seven-footers (which we’ll get to), the handfuls of rings, the certifiable superstar).The Wolves approach NBA basketball with the anxious energy of a group of people about to do something really difficult that they don’t quite understand. They make the game look fast and chaotic and complicated. They achieve competence in mysterious, unpredictable bursts and then just as unpredictably regress back to their natural state of frenzied searching.
From Jon Krawczynski, OC Register: Few teams in the NBA can measure up to the Lakers when their big men dominate the way they did against Minnesota on Tuesday night. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and the Lakers’ towering front line overwhelmed Kevin Love on the boards in a 90-79 victory over the Timberwolves. Gasol had 17 rebounds and 12 points, Bynum had 14 points and seven boards, and the Lakers scored 28 second-chance points to overcome a poor shooting night and win their fifth consecutive game. “Offensive rebounds, you’ve got to get second-shot opportunities,” Bynum said. “Normally we shoot in the high 40s, so there aren’t that many to be had. Tonight was the exception.” Wes Johnson had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who led for much of the first three quarters before the Lakers asserted themselves.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Everybody on the Lakers appeared spread out on the court, but they all turned in one direction. Lakers forward Lamar Odom bodied up Minnesota forward Kevin Love, preventing him from getting solid post position. Lakers guard Steve Blake stepped down to swipe the ball away. Lakers center Andrew Bynum and Lakers forward Luke Walton remained ready to slide over in the paint. And Lakers guard Shannon Brown stood above the free-throw line ready to defend the perimeter in case Love kicked the ball outside. Instead, Love drove inside and met plenty of resistance, ranging from Blake continually trying to steal the ball, Odom contesting the shot and Bynum putting a body on him to make it difficult for Lobe to maneuver. Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson recovered the loose ball off Bynum’s blocked shot and found Love open in the paint. But once he received the pass, Walton held his ground, while both Odom and Bynum crashed the boards for the possible rebound. Walton’s tight defense forced Love into shooting an airball and Bynum’s proximity to the basket allowed him to grab the easy board.
From Actuarially Sound, Silver Screen and Roll: The Lakers managed to pull out a victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 90 to 79, despite putting out one of their worst offensive performances of the season. The first half was nothing worth writing home about as the Lakers were sloppy on offense, constantly turning it over and seemingly unable to make a basket. Lucky for them, their opponent was one of the worst teams in the league and thus the game never got out of reach. In the second half the Lakers put the clamps down on the defensive end, holding Minnesota to only 34 points, and found enough rhythm offensively to put up 50 points of their own.