The Los Angeles Lakers picked up one of their biggest wins of the season on Friday night, erasing a 10-point halftime deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road. The win moved the Lakers into seventh place in the Western Conference standings with just six games to go.
If the Lakers had lost they would have dropped to ninth, which would make their road to the playoffs a whole lot tougher.
It seems that the Lakers understood what was at stake as they flipped a switch midway through the third quarter, turning a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead. LeBron James was proud of how the Lakers played during that stretch, turning their defense into offense, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It took a full team effort and just not panicking. We understand that Minnesota has been playing some good basketball as of late and are pretty good at home. We had to get stops. We had to get defensive stops and then we had to stop turning the ball over, which we did in the second half that allowed us to make that huge rally in the third quarter. I think we went on like a 24-2 run at one point and kind of took control of the game.”
James had a rough shooting night as he was just 7-for-19 from the field for 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks. LeBron did have a pair of dunks though and although he said he is still working to get his rhythm back, his injured foot is continuing to get better with each game:
“Yeah, it’s getting better. My rhythm is still not quite there yet as it was before the injury but I mean I was out for four weeks, I understand that. So I think each game, each minute, as my wind starts to get back too, I think I can play a little bit longer in spurts. But I was happy to be able to get two dunks, one in transition and one in the halfcourt set and just seeing my foot just kind of react to it and the rest of the body… I’ll be in the lineup on Sunday so that’s the best response I could have.”
Although beating the Timberwolves was unquestionably a great win for the Lakers, James added their focus has already shifted to their game against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night:
“This game is over with. Our focus shifts to Houston right now. They beat us last time we played them about a week ago or two weeks ago, whenever that was, so now our focus shifts to them right away. I’m gonna lock in on the film as soon as I get on the plane and watch the last few games that they had and the game that we had when I didn’t play a couple weeks ago or whenever that was. But our focus shifts now.”
With only a few games left to play, James and the Lakers understand the importance of winning every game so he is looking forward to Sunday:
“Yeah, I think we’re in a good place. But the game is not won on paper and it’s not won on these phones. It’s won in between the four lines. So we can talk about it but we got to go out and handle business. Sunday can’t come fast enough for me.”
The Rockets beat the Lakers in Houston just a couple of weeks ago without James in the lineup, so there’s no doubt they will be looking for revenge in what is essentially a must-win game for L.A.
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