Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves into Staples Center for their fourth and final meeting of the season. Entering Sunday, the Timberwolves held a 2-1 series lead, as the Lakers looked to even the series.
The Lakers are coming off an impressive win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. The played one of their better games of the season and tonight they look to continue the trend and try and win their fourth-straight game.
The Lakers began the game with a lineup of Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr. The Wolves countered with Ricky Rubio, Brandon Rush, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Both teams began the game trading baskets as the Lakers jumped out to an early 7-6 lead. Towns scored his third basket of the night when he backed down Randle on the block and turned around for a right-handed jump hook. On the next Lakers possession, Russell used his craftiness to find his way into the lane and score a high-arcing layup over the taller Wolves defender.
Los AngelesLakers a 14-10 lead midway through the quarter. Coming out of a timeout, Randle used his strength to muscle his way and score a nifty left-handed layup, but Wiggins responded with a midrange jumper on the ensuing possession to halt the Lakers momentum.
Thomas Robinson got his night going early when he dribbled in towards the basket and finish with a running layup to put the Lakers up six. On the next Wolves possession, Wiggins once again drilled a two-point jumper.
The Wolves were unable to take advantage of a Lakers turnover as Wiggins missed a layup and on the ensuing possession, Ingram connected on a three-pointer for his sixth point of the night. The Lakers lead the Wolves, 29-21, at the end of the first quarter.
Towns got the quarter started by knocking down a nice looking turnaround one-handed shot to bring the Wolves within six points. A Wolves turnover resulted in Corey Brewer finding Tarik Black under the basket for an and-one opportunity.
Tyler Ennis continued his improved play of late when he connected on a 14-foot jumper to increase the Los Angeles lead to 13 points with nine minutes left in the quarter. Shabazz Muhammed scored on a thunderous dunk to try and get the Wolves offense going, but Ennis countered with a three-pointer on the following possession to keep the Lakers lead at a comfortable margin.
Towns scored his sixth basket of the night when he cleaned up an offensive rebound. Randle entered back into the game after a timeout and scored a short basket to put the Lakers up 16 points, but Wiggins responded with a three-pointer on the next possession.
After Wiggins got the Lakers lead down to single digits on a pair of made free throws, Russell made his way into lane a finished with a layup to force a Wolves timeout with less than three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Towns continued his strong night when he grabbed another offensive rebound and finished with a layup. A Lakers turnover on the following possession led another Towns dunk to cut the Lakers to four. Nance Jr. got a much-needed basket when scored on a short jumper.
The Lakers lead the Wolves at the end of the second quarter, 53-51. Towns leads the Wolves with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while Ennis leads the Lakers with 13 points off the bench.
The Wolves started the quarter on a 9-0 run to regain the lead before Los Angeles got on the board. Another pair of free throws by Wiggins gave him 23 points on the night, but Clarkson answered with a 13-foot jumper on the next Lakers possession to pull within five points.
Another Los Angeles turnover, their 13th of the night, lead to Dieng getting fouled and making two free throws to increase the lead to seven points with less than seven minutes remaining.
Randel showed off his versatility when he dribbled around his defender and finished around the basket, but Dieng responded with a 16-foot jump shot.
The game started to pick up pace as both teams began trading baskets and the game was tied when Ingram finished his and-one opportunity. After the Wolves were unable to capitalize on another Lakers turnover, Russell took a long outlet pass from Nance Jr. and dunked the ball but Towns and Wiggins made back-to-back baskets on consecutive possessions.
The Lakers trail the Wolves, 79-78, at the end of the third quarter.
Los Angeles began the final period fast as Black and Ennis scored the consecutive possessions to help the Lakers regain the lead. Muhammad got the Wolves on the board when he scored a short jumper. Metta World Peace got the fans on their feet when took the ball coast-to-coast and scored a drifting jumper.
Wiggins gave the Wolves the lead when Towns found him with a long outlet pass, but World Peace answered with a three-pointer for his second basket of the night. A turnover by Robinson led to an easy basket by Muhammad to cut the Lakers lead to two points.
Towns drilled his first triple of the game out of a timeout to give him 36 points on the night so far midway through the quarter. A nice defensive possession by the Lakers turned into a pair of free throws by Black on their next possession.
Russell gave the Lakers the lead with under three minutes left in the game when drilled his first three-pointer of the game, but Rubio chose a right moment for his first basket of the night when dribbled by his defender all the way towards the basket for a layup.
With the game tied up with two minutes remaining, Towns scored a layup and a step back three-pointer to put the Wolves up five. A Clarkson running jumper was answered by Wiggins on the ensuing possession to force the Lakers to call a timeout with 33 seconds remaining.
Randle had a chance to cut the lead to one but failed to make the free throw after he got fouled driving to the basket. On the following possession, Nance Jr. blocked a driving Rubio which led Russell to race down the court and find an open World Peace on the corner for the game-winning three. He missed the shot attempt but the ball found its way back to Russell who knocked down a three-pointer to win the game.
The Lakers beat the Wolves 110-109 for their fourth-straight win. The Lakers were able to withstand strong performances by Wiggins and Towns who combined for 81 points. The Lakers had six players finish in double figures, led by Ennis’ career-high 20 points.