Whatâ€™s up with Luke? Turns out he has tendonitis in his ankle. In a radio interview this morning (one that was a classic example of why it is hard to listen to sports talk radio in LA) he said he was relieved by the diagnosis because it could have been worse.
Donâ€™t expect him back for another week or two.
The Wolves are slumping. The Timberwolves are 3-7 in their last 10 (same as the Lakers) and have lost six of the last seven, and three straight. That includes a loss to the Celtics, the one team the Lakers had little trouble with lately.
Last meeting. Back in December the Lakers beat the T-Wolves in what may have been my favorite game this season â€” LA went on a 34-5 run in the fourth quarter where all the starters sat and the lineup was Farmar, Sasha, Evans, VladRad and Bynum. As a team the Lakers shot 61.7% (eFG%) and 47.1% from three in that game.
Garnett had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the loss.
Garnett is not slumping. While he has basically nobody around him, KG is still, well, KG. Against the Celtics he had 33, 13 and 10, his third triple-double of the season â€” all in the last month. In the last 10 games he is shooting 50.6% on his way to 23.7 PPG and 13.5 rebounds per game.
Heâ€™s not the LA savior. Iâ€™ll believe KG will ask out of Minnesota when it happens, I wouldnâ€™t hold your breath. But even if it does, there are several teams that can put together as good or better packages than the Lakers. Including teams like Chicago, which meets the standard superstar trade criteria of making sure he goes to the other conference.
What Iâ€™m saying is Iâ€™m not a fan of pinning your hopes on this kind of long shot in general, and this one in particular. Better to focus on what you can do, not count on KG riding in to save the Lakers.
The other T-Wolf to stop. Last meeting with the Lakers, Ricky Davis scored 22 on 9 of 16 shooting. In his last 10 games heâ€™s been shooting 56.7% (eFG%) and 44.2% from three. KG is going to get his, but you canâ€™t let Ricky Davis beat you â€” and close out on him on threes. Heâ€™s a pretty good midrange shooter but better from deep.
Things to look for: If the Lakers play defense like they did against Phoenix they will win handily. If they revert back to the Sacramento game defense, they could lose to Artesia High School.
Donâ€™t turn the ball over â€” the T-Wolves are 27th in the league in creating turnovers and have won just 35% of their games against the 10 teams that turn the ball over the least in the league. That is not the Lakers (they are middle of the pack), but if they can curb the turnover habit for a night it will go a long way toward getting the win.
I’d love to see another big game from the bench tonight. The Lakers are depleted, but the Wolves are thin.
As I said yesterday, Iâ€™m curious about how Smush comes out after his benching at the end of last game. My guess, he comes out gunning. But I hope Iâ€™m wrong. Also, I’m curious to see how Phil deals with him in the lineup, and the front line rotations. Because of the injuries Phil seems to be experimenting again.