The Los Angeles Lakers are now 0-2 against the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, losing in blowout fashion for the second time on Friday night. LeBron James — who played one of his worst games of the season — took note of the biggest discrepancy between the two teams, which came on the boards.
L.A. got out-rebounded by the Timberwolves 61-36, an absolutely staggering margin. Not only that, the offensive rebounding battle was won by Minnesota 15-1, eight of them going to Jarred Vanderbilt alone. The Lakers also lost in points in the paint, 48-32.
All of these stats — at least, to head coach Frank Vogel — show that the Lakers were simply outworked by the Timberwolves, an extremely frustrating way to lose given L.A.’s current circumstances.
“I think their whole team was more physical, not just KAT,” Vogel said. “Look at the boards. They had 15 offensive rebounds, we had one. They definitely played a more physical brand of basketball tonight and we got to be better.”
Vogel did not want to make excuses when asked if Anthony Davis’ injury affected their morale. “That’s tough to say whether that has an impact. I think him just not being in the game (laughs) was the biggest factor. You lose a player of AD’s caliber, your team gets weakened. You try to respond to those moments, but I got to look at the tape, you say they went on a bigger run at that point, we got to be better there.”
James, however, focused specifically on the rebounds when pointing to how the Timberwolves were able to win this game.
“They had 15 offensive rebounds, mostly by Jarred [Vanderbilt]. We missed a lot of shots, we don’t do a good job offensive rebounding ourselves,” James said. “Obviously when we’re not playing the big lineup, we don’t get a lot of extra shots so most of those were defensive. They had 61 rebounds, 46 of them were defensive rebounds so they good a job of cleaning the glass that we missed.”
With the Lakers so shorthanded due to an ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, effort is one of the few things they can bring to each and every game. It’s why rebounding was such a focus for them following the game, as they failed to bring the same intensity the Timberwolves brought.
Until L.A. gets everyone back in the lineup healthy, they’ll need to focus on outworking their opponents instead of getting by with their talent. They have a couple of tough matchups ahead, and it’s important they get some wins before their schedule toughens up even further in January.
Malik Monk cleared to travel with team but not yet cleared to play
In a very confusing turn of events, it felt as though Malik Monk was both cleared and not cleared to return to the court on Friday. Following the game, Vogel gave some insight as to what happened.
“Look, it’s a very detailed, nuanced and complex the protocols and the league takes each case literally case by case and they measure in all the factors of the testing and other medical factors.
“You can be cleared for one thing and not another. For instance, he was cleared to travel with us but was not cleared to be out of the protocols just yet.
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