The Los Angeles Lakers kicked off 2022 with a win, albeit an ugly one as they hung on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, 108-103, to get back to .500 at 19-19.
The reason it was so difficult for the Lakers was because they were thoroughly out-rebounded in the contest with the Timberwolves dominating them 56-28 on the glass. Minnesota had 20 offensive rebounds compared to just four for the Lakers, which led to them getting 17 more shot attempts in the game.
L.A. buckled down defensively late though to hang on for the win, and they were led by LeBron James on both ends of the floor in that regard.
James had another superb game for the Lakers, although he did see his 30-plus point streak come to an end at seven games. James finished the night with 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists on 7-of-15 shooting. He also contributed three steals and a block.
The Lakers’ second-leading scorer on the night was Malik Monk, who continued his hot shooting as of late with 22 points on 8-of-14 from the field (4-of-9 from deep).
A couple of guys who came up big for L.A., particularly in the fourth quarter, were Avery Bradley and Carmelo Anthony.
Bradley had 14 points in what was one of his better offensive games. His real impact comes on the defensive end though, and that was again the case in this one as he had four steals.
Anthony also had 14 points of his own off the bench, including a huge four-point play in the fourth quarter when the game was starting to get close.
Russell Westbrook contributed 20 points of his own to go along with three rebounds and five assists, although he was responsible for nine of the Lakers’ 15 turnovers on the night. Seven of those came in the first half, so Westbrook did a better job of taking care of the ball down the stretch.
Naz Reid was a dominant force down low for the short-handed Timberwolves and big a reason for the lopsided rebounding numbers. He had 23 points and 11 rebounds on the night, with five of them coming on the offensive end. James took the challenge of guarding him late though to avoid that from continuing, and it worked out well for L.A.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers continue their homestand on Tuesday night when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to town. They then close out the week by hosting the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies.
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