The Los Angeles Lakers could not build on their first preseason win as they lost for the second time against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night at Crypto.com Arena.
Head coach Darvin Ham opted to go with a smaller lineup, starting Anthony Davis at the center along with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, and Lonnie Walker IV.
Walker reportedly had an intense week of practice, and it immediately showed to begin the game as he scored efficiently from all over the floor. The guard’s athleticism and shotmaking were on full display, but he held up well on the defensive end more impressively. However, his night ended after spraining his left ankle in the third quarter.
Walker was on his way to a big game before the injury, but he finished with 12 points, three rebounds, and one assist.
The game saw a smaller-than-expected crowd, likely because the Los Angeles Dodgers were hosting the second game of their playoff series against the San Diego Padres just a few miles away at Dodger Stadium, as detailed in this TPP blog article.
James and Davis Produce
James paced the Lakers in scoring 25 points on efficient 9-of-12 shooting. James added 11 rebounds with three assists in just 25 minutes of action. It was a good performance from the King as he displayed his usual burst on drives and was active around the paint.
Davis was also highly productive on both ends of the floor, recording his double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. He added two steals and two blocks, a sign that he’s back to being a defensive force when he mans the middle of the lane.
Beverley had a tremendous all-around game, contributing in multiple areas and coming up with several plays that were able to keep the Laker offense going. The guard finished with 10 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Los Angeles looked like they were on their way to a blowout in the fourth quarter before Cole Swider provided some instant offense. The rookie forward scored 11 points in the period, leading a valiant comeback effort before the team eventually suffered defeat.
Up Next for the Lakers
The Lakers close out their exhibition slate on Friday when they get another preseason rematch against the Sacramento Kings.
After that, the 2022-23 season officially begins when they head to Northern California to take on the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night. The Warriors will be presented with their 2022 NBA Championship rings, which should provide enough motivation for the Lakers to play well.