Lakers Vs. Timberwolves Preview: LeBron James & Gabe Vincent Out
Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Lakers, Timberwolves
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers badly need a win after dropping three straight and four of five since winning the NBA In-Season Tournament. But things don’t get any easier in the second game of their road trip as they take on the team with the best record in the West, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back and coming off losses, but the Lakers will be without LeBron James, who is sitting out due to an ankle injury. Gabe Vincent, who made his return to the lineup last night, is also out for this game.

This means the pressure is on Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves to really carry the Lakers offense against the best defense in the NBA.

Davis has been outstanding in the month of December, but his work will be cut out for him against the dual bigs of the Timberwolves in Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota is excellent at limiting points in the paint so the Lakers will have to be creative in how they get Davis touches so he can be effective.

Reaves is also being counted on heavily to create both for himself and his teammates with LeBron out. The Lakers offense has already been inconsistent, so Reaves’ ability to get in the paint and make things happen will be crucial for the team’s success.

Rui Hachimura could get the start in place of LeBron and this would be an ideal night for a breakout performance from the talented forward. The Lakers need an offensive boost from somewhere and shots will be available so Hachimura could be in line for a big night. Max Christie should also get a look off the bench and will have the opportunity to make an impact as well.

Defensively, the Lakers’ biggest focus will obviously be Anthony Edwards. The wing has been outstanding this season and is poised to make his second consecutive All-Star team. He has greatly improved his outside shooting, which makes him nearly impossible to stop considering his otherworldly athleticism.

The Lakers have also been killed at the 3-point line recently and must be wary of the Timberwolves outside shooters. Towns, Mike Conley, Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid are all capable of getting hot, but if the Lakers can contain the 3-ball, Minnesota’s offense has not been great otherwise and the Lakers locking down on defense could keep them in this game.

The Timberwolves are also one of the league’s worst teams in terms of taking care of the ball so if the Lakers are able to create some mistakes and get out in transition for easy buckets it would go a long way towards a potential huge win against the best team in the West.

Los Angeles Lakers (15-13) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (20-6)

6:00 p.m. PT, Dec. 21, 2023
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers starting lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Cam Reddish
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood

Projected Timberwolves starting lineup:

PG: Mike Conley
SG; Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Karl-Anthony Towns
C: Rudy Gobert

Key Reserves: Naz Reid, Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Shake Milton

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers Player Review: Davon Reed

The Los Angeles Lakers made a number of moves at the trade deadline, one of which sent center Thomas Bryant…

NBA Play-In Tournament Schedule & TV Info: Lakers Officially Clinch No. 7 Seed & Will Host Timberwolves On Tuesday

The final day of the 2022-23 season was a wild one as numerous scenarios affected the Play-In Tournament seedings….

Lakers Rumors: Jazz’s Patrick Beverley & Bojan Bogdanovic Named As Players To ‘Keep An Eye On’ In Trade Talks

With the potential of a Kyrie Irving trade seemingly all but gone, the Los Angeles Lakers must now look elsewhere if they plan on…

Lakers News: Mike D’Antoni Reflects On Struggles Getting Kobe Bryant & Dwight Howard On Same Page

Before this most recent season, what many viewed as the most disappointing in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers was the 2012-13…