Although Brandon Ingram returned from a four-game suspension, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to finish a short road trip with a victory. They were in a back-and-forth affair with the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game that saw both teams mount late runs.
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Ultimately, the Lakers were done in by a stagnant half-court offense and struggles with rebounding and playing defense without fouling. There were also breakdowns at various in the second half, which Jimmy Butler took full advantage of.
He scored a game-high 32 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter. Following the loss, Lakers head coach Luke Walton lamented the lack of execution that led to Butler’s big night, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Some were contested. Normally, somebody hits that many threes it’s because they get in a rhythm. We went under on him twice; the bench was yelling, the coverage was get into him, force him down off the three-point line. We didn’t do it. We just have to get better. I mean, it’s the same story. We’ve got to get better at the little things. One of those things is paying attention to details, following game plans.”
Butler did the bulk of his damage behind the arc, where made all but one of his seven attempts. His final 3-pointer was contested by Rajon Rondo but still went in, giving the Timberwolves a decided five-point lead with just under 20 seconds remaining.
While Butler was a focal point, so too was rebounding, and the Lakers failed to finish out one too many possessions down the stretch. They also continued to be hampered by the whistle, sending the Timberwolves to the line for 30 attempts.