One of the major concerns coming out of the All-Star break was whether the Los Angeles Lakers’ role players would be enough to support the team once everyone is healthy. And the supporting cast, especially the bench, is giving LeBron James all of the help he needs.
James recorded his second straight triple-double and the bench added 68 points as the Lakers flipped the switch in the second half for a 137-121 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. After allowing 70 points in the first half and trailing by seven early in the third quarter, the Lakers outscored Minnesota 66-43 the rest of the way and cruised in the fourth quarter.
The win was the Lakers’ third straight since the All-Star break and improves their record to 27-13, still just one loss behind the Phoenix Suns for second in the Western Conference.
James finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his second straight triple-double and 99th of his career. Once again he had a lot of help along the way and the bench especially stepped up.
Montrezl Harrell had another outstanding game with 25 points and a season-high six assists as he continues to get more comfortable in his role with the team.
Talen Horton-Tucker seems to have broken out of his midseason slump with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Kyle Kuzma added another 16 points as well on a hot offensive night for the Lakers. As a team, the Lakers shot 57.5% from the field and 50% from 3-point range, knocking down 13 total threes on the night. They also lived at the free-throw line, hitting 24-of-28 from the charity stripe.
Dennis Schroder had a solid game with 16 points and seven assists but again struggled to take care of the ball with five turnovers. As a team, the Lakers had just 13 and many of those came in the first quarter so they clearly tightened things up after that.
Defense was an issue for the Lakers, allowing 121 points to the Timberwolves’ 26th ranked offense. Though they did turn up the intensity in the second half, they still allowed Minnesota to shoot 52.2% from the field on the night.
Something else that carried over from the Lakers’ previous game was their ball movement as they finished with a season-high 37 assists on their 50 made baskets.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers continue their five-game week against three of the hottest teams in the NBA. First up is hosting the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday before a back-to-back on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks at home and a road game against the Phoenix Suns.
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