Preview and Chat Lakers vs. Timberwolves

Ryan Cole —  March 28, 2014

After winning a couple of games in a row, the Lakers got back to their recent losing ways last night when they were defeated 108-105 on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite the fact that the Lakers were short-handed on players, they never found a way to get stops against one of the worst teams in basketball.

If the Lakers are aspiring to not have the worst record in the franchise’s history (30-52, set by the 1974-75 team), they have to get wins against teams like the Bucks. Despite the fact that playoff hopes are gone, this team must continue to find ways to play inspired basketball as a unit. However that might be tough as this point in the season, as the majority of this roster isn’t guaranteed a contract going into next year. Guys are playing for their well-being, and it shows on the court.

Tonight the Lakers will play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This will be the start of a stretch in which the Lakers finish the season facing nine teams with a record of .500 or better (*the pro-tanking group applauds*). The Timberwolves are trying to sneak into the playoffs as the 8-seed, so they will come out firing and ready against the Lakers. Pau Gasol will be out again, so it’s going to be key that the Lakers big men be ready against NBA All-Star Kevin Love.

Keys to Lakers Victory:
Show No Love: Nobody on the Lakers can defend Kevin Love one-on-one. Because of that, they should force someone else on the Timberwolves roster to beat them. Send him different looks on the defensive end, use double teams, whatever it takes. The Lakers can’t afford for him to dominate the interior as a rebounder and a scorer. He’s a supreme talent, and we know that he is going to be looking to feast on a depleted Lakers frontcourt.

Defense: We saw what good can happen if the Lakers simply commit to playing with some type of effort or intensity of the defensive end against the Magic and Knicks. Tonight they must continue playing with that same fire. The Timberwolves are coming in as one of the leagues most effecient teams on the offensive end, and they will not be taking the Lakers lightly, as they are fighting for their playoff lives. Therefore it’s key that the Lakers prioritize getting stops. They’ll need to prevent penetration, cover the three-point line, and rebound on the defensive end.

Win The Three-Point Line: The three-point line is going to be pretty important in a game like this. Both the Lakers and Timberwolves prefer to push the pace and convert from behind the arc as many times as possible. As has been the narrative for the Lakers all season, if they have some decent success shooting the ball, they tend to give themselves a chance at winning. Tonight will have to be one of those nights that they make a lot of threes, as we should expect this game to be a high scoring affair.

Where you can watch: 5:00 pm start time out west on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

 

Ryan Cole

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64 responses to Preview and Chat Lakers vs. Timberwolves

  1. The Timberwolves are trying to sneak into the playoffs as the 8-seed, so they will come out firing and ready against the Lakers.
    - What? The Wolves are like 8 games back. Playoff odds have them at 0.2%. If anything they need to think pick protections at this point. And to top it off Kevin Love looked like a broken man after Mondays loss to Memphis.
    As a fan hoping we lose this game worries me. A hot game from 3 and they’ll be right there in the 4th.

  2. Dan,
    Yeah, it would take a something amazing for the Wolves to get into the playoffs at this point. That said, I still expect them to play hard and they have a much better team than the Lakers. As you note (and as Ryan does to), a hot game from 3 really is the Lakers best chance of winning, but even if Love is a “broken man” he’s still putting up video game numbers. Considering this is a second night of a back to back, I’m thinking the Lakers’ odds of winning this game are low. We’ll see, though.

  3. D’Antoni Alert: My feelings about MD have been known since Day 1 of his tenure, so I will not bore you with those. Rather let’s just stick to the facts. The Lakers have 11 games left. These games are critical for MD’s Laker legacy if indeed they are to be his last on our bench. MD’s Laker record is 64-76. So- he has already clinched a two year losing record. The Lakers have had 14 different coaches in their history who have coached for the better part of 2 years. Of those, only Randy Pfund and Mike D’Antoni have losing records. Further, the Lakers have had 16 coaches who have coached 40 games or more in the entire history. Again only MD + Pfund have losing records. No Laker coach has ever (all of these dates go back to the 1940′s by the way) coached for 2 years and not won a single playoff game – until now. So all of this stuff is already clinched. However in the next 11 games we will see whether MD gets to unseat Randy Pfund as arguably the most unsuccessful coach in Laker history. Pfund’s record was 66-80. MD’s 76 losses loom large, and 5 more and he eclipses the Pfund mark of 80. To put this in perspective let’s look at the group of recent Laker coaches that are tagged with non-favorable ratings. Mike Brown, Rudy Tomjonavich, Kurt Rambis, and Magic Johnson, have a combined 72 losses all time for the Lakers. Hard to believe – but true. The group also managed to win 8 playoff games. Check the records yourself if you like, but I have checked all the way back to the forties. It is MD and Pfund and soon MD could stand alone. If he is retained into next year it will be unprecedented, as currently Pfund stands out as the only losing coach who was even retained for a second year. That is over the 67 year history of our great franchise.

  4. GO WOLVES!

  5. Never have I disliked a Lakers game as much as Marshall.

  6. Both teams will play to win, with Minny being the much better team, the Lakers injured on the road of a B2B. Like games they’ve played before. Love, a broken man? LOL. Try to see it from a pro athlete’s POV.

  7. Now u see why Wes can’t be resigned. BB IQ of a cow.

    Looking good for 26- 27 wins for the big wine prize!

  8. Maybe Love is showcasing himself to Lakers’ management. Heh.

  9. Robert, Awesome job.

    You have truly regained your touch. An excellent post!

    The only thing I would quibble about – and it is a quibble – is your claim that MDA is only within reach of being “arguably the most unsuccessful coach in Lakers history”. He already is arguably the most unsuccessful coach in Lakers history.

    He has a historic opportunity, over the next 11 games, to claim beyond dispute recognition as the most futile coach in Lakers history. We can only hope he doesn’t blow this historic opportunity to be a loser for the ages.

    I for one am pulling for him.

  10. D’Antoni also has this, the Lakers were the first team eliminated from the playoffs this season, pretty sure that has never happened before. I think he will surpass Rand Pfund’s record.

  11. Can you fire a entire team and coach?

    And scouts?

    And and and

  12. Another zero point minus 28 game for our starting PG.

    Proud?

  13. what a spanking we´re gettin´

  14. Well against a decent team Hill’s numbers come back down to Earth in a hurry.

  15. Does anyone know the dollar value of a pig for purposes of a trade? Is it more valuable before you draft a player or after?

  16. Ha ha! I meant pick, not pig!

  17. Pig was correct Manny.

  18. Mike D records

    Most consecutive home losses

    Biggest point loss in history

    Most loses in a season

    Worst percentage of any coach for 2 years in history.

    100 years from now Pringles will remain in Laker record books.

    Nice job there Mikey!

  19. Hahahaha the dollar value of a pig
    the best question the Lakers should be asking

  20. Manny i think its value changes, sometimes the placement of the pick is more valuable and sometime is the draftee depending of the team needs, in this suposedly loaded draft a very high pick would have tremendous value before the draft bc it would give the team that traded for it a NBA ready potential superstar (suposedly) on the cheap. In my opinion a very high pick before the draft its more valuable. Btw i trade a very high pig to Ko for a case of wine aint paying for that rehab. Lol bad joke

  21. The irony is now that maybe Dantoni’s ‘value’ is highest as a tanker.
    We are now guaranteed the best draft pick by retaining him thru the last ten games.
    Otherwise I’d let him go now.
    I actually feel sorry for him at this point.

  22. Has anyone else seen this silly rumor?
    http://espn.go.com/blog/marc-stein/post/_/id/1929/whats-next-for-kevin-love-and-wolves

    I would quite literally puke if they pulled this trade with the T-Wolves. Good loss tonight, btw, if you’re cheering for that kind of thing. Need to go on a good long streak though in order to secure a 4th worst record.

  23. It’s really all about the MDA death watch now …

    Even if the Lakers got Love, wouldn’t he ride the pine in favor of … Sacre??

  24. I just had a thought so chilling I shouldn’t even post it here.

    Oh, OK, I will: Larry Brown as Lakers coach would be an upgrade at this point.

    (Shudder)

  25. R

    Charlie Brown would be an upgrade!

  26. KenOak -

    The piece basically says that Minnesota is going to try everything they can to keep Love. I have no idea what Love is thinking, of course, but I am skeptical about this idea that seems to be floating loosely out there that Love is itching to play for the Lakers. Look at it this way: would you be looking to join an org that put together the team Minnesota crushed again tonight? My guess is that Love is actually just itching to be on a contending team.

  27. Randy Pfund would be an upgrade.

  28. One more earth quake like that I have oceanfront property!

  29. Alright. This has got to be said.

    I hope Kendall Marshall likes Belgium. Because he does not belong in this league. He’s bottomed out. He’s an incredible liability on defense. He hasn’t scored in a month. And he looks totally lost.

    Amazingly, he still starts. Go figure.

  30. @rr
    Yeah, I just would hate to have the Lakers trade for the guy and then lose him in FA like DH. Need to clean up our house before we start inviting guests over. Not even sure what it is that needs to be done either, but something has to happen.

  31. It only counts as one loss and the gritty Celtics managed to “blow” a 4 point lead with 2:14 to go to lose by 2. It is going to be tough to get by the Lossprechaun and Utah for the 4th seed.

  32. I did a 7 game parlay, lakers lost me a grand today, all they had to do was lose by 10, not 50. Fire dantoni.

  33. Not even sure what it is that needs to be done either,

    Yeah. I think that feeling, for me, stems from the bizarre juxtaposition of Kobe’s deal with where the rest of the roster is. Next year’s cap is currently projected at about 62M, so if they don’t use the stretch on Nash, the Lakers will be spending over half the cap on two guys who will be a combined 77 years old next year and who have played 18 games between them this year.

    If Kobe’s deal were one year, then you could say focus on the pick, try to get some young, cheap talent, hope for the best with Kobe, and ride it out until summer 2015. But the deal is two years, so basically the FO is banking on Kobe being Kobe immediately upon his return and staying that way through his age-36 and age-37 seasons.

    In that context, trading the pick for a guy like Love makes more sense. IOW, if Kobe were 27 years old, and we knew that he would be back, like he was on sabbatical or something, I could see the FO thinking that way: move the pick to get the second star in place, a guy in 20s who is established. As it is, I am not seeing it–if in fact the FO is actually thinking of moving the pick, and I am skeptical.

  34. Mike freaking Brown would be an improvement, there i said it…

  35. I can’t see Love coming to the Lakers. The Lakers have to look like a trainwreak from afar. Everyone who made the Lakers who they are has left. That’s the current trend. Talent is moving away from the Lakers. Talent attracts talent. That goes for GMs, coaches, and players. The Lakers have lost them all over the last decade. No matter how much we argue about it here in Lakerland it has to look bad for the Lakers when Phil Jackson is joining the Knicks. He is just the latest in string of talent that has left the Lakers in the last few years. Gasol will be next. And the Lakers will probably get nothing in return for him.

    So why would a 27 year old player in his prime want to come here? Love has never made the playoffs. He wants to start winning now. He is not trying to be part of rebuild. He’s been doing that for several years already with the T-Wolves. What do the Lakers have to offer him? Their storied history? I doubt that goes very far any free agents these days.

  36. 143 points is a franchise record in regular time for Minny. Ko, MDA is making history everywhere he goes…

  37. @TWilshire – Randy Pfund, nice!

    @rr – Good post! I think you hit the nail on the head. The deal made no sense when the Lakers first inked it and makes even less now. I think it shows the Lakers have been doing some pondering as to what the vision truly is. Kobe’s deal would say that the Lakers were thinking of loading up with Kobe for one more run. But the issues with that are numerous such as the injuries, age, and the fact that no all-star caliber player really wants to play with Kobe. They respect him but they don’t want to be paired with him either. It would be crazy to try to load up for a run,fire MDA and implement a new system simultaneously. Also, why put together a team that all in likelihood would just struggle to make the playoffs? That would be crazy and show us the Lakers clearly don’t have a plan and just have become reactionary. So, clearly @ this point it is one of two things and I am sure that neither will sit well with Kobe. The Lakers will give Kobe the chance for the scoring title and a Farewell Tour to go along with it which should coupled with Steve Nash’s final year should still guarantee that the Lakers stay visible while they reconstruct. Secondly, the Lakers could trade Kobe but @rr’s point hangs big here that contract is hard to move even if Kobe and the Lakers both agree. Who the hell would want to eat that whopper for a 38 year off guard? Bottom-Line get ready for the tour!

    @TRodgers – You are right plain and simple. This is a trainwreck and I don’t see anyone wanting to get aboard. The Lakers need to be able to communicate a vision to top free agents in order for them to want to be here. Didn’t go well with DH12 and I don’t see the Lakers organization fine tuning their pitch. Let’s face it we need Kevin Love and he could be great here if we get it together. Stan Love played here so I do feel he would want to be a Laker but not with our current mess. We may be looking at lotto balls longer than we thought.

    Dark Days LakerLand!!! Dark Days indeed!!!

  38. T Rogers,

    You may well be right. A lot of that applies to Howard as well.

  39. Spec centers on Love because he was born in LA and has ties here.

  40. T. Rogers
    Legacy. That’s why Love possibly comes to the Lakers. He would have the chance to become the face of the franchise that has, historically, been the face of Los Angeles. Heck man…the next player that comes along and returns the Lakers to being more relevant than the Clippers will be crowned a king. (At least in the hearts of Lakers fans.)

  41. I dont see that trade happening, besides the pick, what else can we offer?unless it involves 2 or more teams an a guarrantee that he would sign an extention at least. PJ’s shadow will loom large on this one, at the end of the day him being a local boy will mean nothing if he wants to win, which the Lakers wont do in the inmediate future. But if someone can pull this off is Mitch. A pairing of Kevin Love and Kobe presumabily close to what he was with some pieces throw in could make for an interesting team.

  42. I would not be too quick to say the Lakers are going to be collecting ping pong balls for years to come. For starters nobody here, in the FO or anywhere else knows what this team will look like next season besides Kobe,Sacre and Kelly, yes im counting Nash out thats the beauty of all these expiring contracts. And while i know the Lakers wont be contenders next season im pretty sure steps are going to be taken to improve this team, the Lakers cant afford to have a season like this one again. While i favor the patient aproach i would not be surprised if they attempt a home run deal, if it dont happen they are going to fill the team with 1 years deals and hope the injury bug dont anihilate this team again. We already have 2 or 3 pieces work keeping besides what is already signed for next season. If we repeat the same formula next season there is no reason we pick 2 or 3 more worth keeping next season which could be the begining of a core. This season has been an anomaly and i really dont expect the team to take more than 3 years to be whipped into shape. Its going to be a challenge though.

  43. Lakers might offer their pick along w Pau in a sign and trade. Pau and Rubio have a history. If Wolves get a rookie along w Pau that may be enough to entice them and I assume we’d need to trade a salary in addition to the pick.

    The Lakers may know how bad they look from the outside looking in, so they MUST trade for Love – he may not come of his own accord in FA!

    That being said, in the Lakers’ favor, Love’s father Stan played here and Kevin may have fond memories of that. So the Laker uniform may have an appeal few other teams have, along with his UCLA roots, that may be enough.

    As long as Mike Dantoni isn’t the coach!!

  44. There are a number of other coaches being sarcastically mentioned above. I am choosing to stick to the facts, so let’s take a look

    Career Coaching Records
    Mike Brown 330 – 200 .623 47-36 playoffs
    Larry Brown 1098 – 904 .548 100-93 playoffs
    Mike D’Antoni 428 – 371 .536 26-33 playoffs

    Larry Brown in LA (Clips) 64 – 53 – playoffs 4-6
    Mike Brown 46-29 – playoffs 5-7
    Charlie Brown 0-0 – playoffs 0-0
    Mike D’Antoni 64-79 – playoffs 0-4

    Laker percentage (regular season)
    Randy Pfund .452
    Mike D’Antoni .448

    R – As the founding member of the Mike D’Antoni should be fired club – I am naming you to the board of directors, due to your post above.

    Thanks for recent props from Purple, R, and Parrothead Phil.

  45. Good article by Lowe.

  46. R – As the founding member of the Mike D’Antoni should be fired club – I am naming you to the board of directors, due to your post above.

    —————–

    Robert, I’m not worthy, but accept your generous appointment.

    **************************************

    T Rodgers: I can’t see Love coming to the Lakers.
    The Lakers have to look like a trainwreak from afar.

    —————-

    Yes, they look like a trainwreak from up close, too, and every distance in between I’d say.

  47. After the latest loss to Minn, James Worthy on TWSN looked Seriously Depressed.
    He can’t hide his disgust.

    If the Laker brand still has ‘credit’ with its loyal fan base after making successful ‘deposits’ all these years, this year has required so many withdrawals we’re approaching Loyalty Bankruptcy.

  48. JC,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. The Lakers franchise has earned alot of patience and loyalty from fans but man are they going through that like afterburn jet fuel, or as you say withdrawals.

    In fact I think this season was so damaging to the Laker brand I don’t think the Lakers can afford to draft a young guy and wait it out a few years while he develops. I think at this point the team has to trade the pick and bring someone in who can help the team immediately.

  49. Rex – unfortunately, KAJ is long since retired.

  50. I know some people likes Love a lot, but if Lakers get Love, it is still a long way to go, I’ve watched some of Minnesota games this year, and i was dissapointed with Love and Rubio, they were supposed to be two super star players in the NBA, but in closed games both of them couldn’t win (turn over, can’t make big shots,…) . Love doesn’t have playoffs experience yet, it is funny when Love saying Minnesota has better players than Lakers, so why can’t his team make a playoff ? This Lakers team has only bench players, can they win ? yes, but some games only, this is NBA ,only super stars can win. MDA’s offense is good for Olympic team because he has good players in every positions, NBA teams don’t have much good players who can shoot, i think that MDA should make an adjustment to his offense in the future if he wants to have a success in the NBA.

  51. Charlie Brown 0-0 – playoffs 0-0
    ___
    lol! you kept the ball rolling on that one, but, are we talking about Snoopy´s Charlie Brown, or Tarantino´s? ;)

  52. Ouch, ouch and ouch!

    I am having a bad streak! I live in Korea and my team here, the SK Knights got knocked out of the playoffs last night, Chris Cyborg, my favorite female ultimate fighter, lost her first fight in forever yesterday, and I come to this forum and find the Lakers got spanked by the Tmberdogs!

    Somebody give me some good sporting news!!!!!

    GOOOOoooooOOOO LAKERS !!!

  53. DJ: With you on Kevin Love. He’s a special talent, a stat stuffer, a guy who throws full-court passes worthy of Wes Unseld or Bill Walton. Unfortunately, he is also a below average defender with slow feet who can be stopped by top tier man defenders. There are many reasons why Minnesota isn’t making the playoffs, but Love’s deficiencies are a big reason.

  54. If the Lakers fall out of the first few spots in the lottery, Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin and Branden Dawson of Michigan St. are 2 players they should really consider, IMO.

  55. Kenny
    Kaminsky is Kelly with a facial hair. Don’t need another soft center to replace the one making $19 million.

  56. Agree with Ko. Kelly was the comparison I was thinking of with Kaminsky as well, but a rich man’s Kelly. I didn’t see much of Arizona this year so my sample size is tiny, but Gordon reminds me more of Joe Alexander than Shawn Marion. Athleticism can only take you so far. I’d have to see more before I can make an intelligent assessment though.

  57. bryan s,

    Love is not a particularly good defender, but:

    “The Wolves have been a catastrophe without Love on the floor this season. When he plays, they outscore opponents by nearly six points per 100 possessions and explode on offense, per NBA.com. When he sits, the offense dies, and they have a worse point differential than the Bucks.”

    So, no Love’s deficiencies–and he has them–are not IMO a “major reason” for the Wolves’ struggles.

  58. Ko…

    I think Kaminsky has something. If he, unlike Pau, embraces strength training, he’ll be a solid pro for many years. There are no perfect players out there. Again, my opinion.

  59. Fall down the draft? I can’t even think about it. We need Julius Randle…

  60. Rr

    Read your post ” Love is not a particular good defender ”

    I thought the sight has turned into a relationship site since the Lakers stink.

    Good advice though. Think I will use it today on my wife when she spends too much money.

  61. I am not a big Randle fan, FWIW. I also have some doubts about Smart.

  62. rr,

    Points well-taken. This is where the importance of the eye-test is key. Like DJ, I’ve watched a fair amount of t-wolves ball the past few seasons and my take away is very much the same as his is. The short of it is that Love is often over matched against elite bigs and can be taken out of his game. He lacks quickness and explosiveness; two athletic attributes that come decisively into play in many closely contested games. Great game winning plays are often made because separation is gained from the defender vertically or horizontally to gain enough space to score. Nowitski can get that because of his length; Love on the other hand, lacks elite length to compensate for his sub par athleticism. He is effectively a one-way player, and those guys are not to be found leading championship teams unless surrounded by a strong defensive cast (e.g. the Mavericks with Tyson Chandler, Kidd etc.) He doesn’t have that in Minnesota, and the results are seen in the standings.

  63. bryan s,

    I have seen the Wolves play 20-25 times; they are one of my League Pass teams. Minnesota has had issues defensively down the stretch, as Lowe details, and Love is part of that. Love has his faults, and you are correct when you say that his value would be maximized by having a rangy 5 with him. I said this weeks and weeks ago, and it is one reason that I hope that the Lakers somehow get Joel Embiid. Nikola Pekovic, while he is a good player, is not really the right guy to team with Love.

    But IMO you are doing the same thing that a lot of people here did when Howard left: overcompensating, nit-picking, and over-thinking. Minnesota’s problem isn’t the fact that Love isn’t the greatest two-way PF of all time; their problem is that they have blown high lottery picks on Wesley Johnson, Derrick Williams, and Jonny Flynn, and that Ricky Rubio is not as good as they had hoped he would be. They do not have a #2 guy.

    The baseball writer Bill James once wrote that that a hallmark of frustrated organizations and fan bases is to focus on the flaws of their best players. We are seeing that now with the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. As Kevin Pelton said in defending Love, players don’t win games–teams do.

    There is room to argue about whether Love is the 4th-best player in the NBA or the 9th or the 12th or whatever. There is no room to argue about how badly the Lakers need to add elite talent, and Love is an elite talent.