The Minnesota Timberwolves pounced all over the Los Angeles Lakers right from the beginning in their Monday night win, going on a 16-0 run to start the game and never looking back.
The deficit got so bad to start the contest that Lakers head coach Luke Walton subbed out his entire starting unit for an all-bench one to send a message, and while the Lakers got slightly better after that, it’s also not like they could’ve played much worse.
The stats reflected that conclusion, with the Lakers shooting 37.5 percent in the first quarter while Minnesota outscored them 30-18.
Given that the Lakers and Timberwolves tied in the second quarter and that L.A. only lost the second half by six points, it was hard not to point to the Wolves’ start as the difference in the contest.
Josh Hart offered a simple explanation for the loss, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:
“They kicked our ass. There’s only so much you can say. They out-rebounded us, and that’s about it. They just played harder than us.”
While there is no excuse for an NBA team playing as bad from the jump as the Lakers did, there was real context for why they might have struggled so mightily, which Corey Brewer explained:
“We didn’t have any energy. We’re coming off a tough loss against Houston, so there’s games like that. Second unit, we came in, tried to get us back in it, but they were at home and they closed us out tonight.”
And while it’s important to note that Minnesota was also on the second end of a back-to-back, they’re also a much better team than the Lakers and should have been heavily favored to win the game.
The Lakers making things close the rest of the way is a nice sign that the team isn’t folding despite now holding sole possession of the worst record in the Western Conference, but that reality also makes it clear that any fight L.A. is showing probably still won’t matter until next season.
They’ll look to snap a season-worst seven-game losing streak when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday for the start of a five-game homestand.
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