The Los Angeles Lakers came crashing back down to earth on Friday night as they were blown out by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 110-92, in a game that they were severely short-handed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols.
The Lakers had no answer for Karl-Anthony Towns out of the gates as he scored the Timberwolves’ first eight points, putting them up 8-4 early. Jarred Vanderbilt soared in for a putback dunk that energized the Timberwolves, though LeBron James was able to cut into their early deficit with a free throw and putback of his own.
Los Angeles had issues taking care of the defensive glass, which led to more opportunities for an amped up Minnesota team that took full advantage. Things only got worse as Anthony Davis rolled his ankle and exited the game, while the Lakers went into the second trailing 23-16.
The newly-signed Isaiah Thomas checked into the game early in the second and immediately sunk two free throws and later found Kent Bazemore for a fastbreak layup, while a pair of Carmelo Anthony threes brought L.A. within two. Towns came back in and resettled things for the Wolves as he scored a quick bucket and blocked James on a drive to keep his team ahead.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Davis was able to return to the game but it was Thomas who gave the Lakers a lift as they mounted their comeback. However, Minnesota was able to answer down the stretch and Los Angeles found itself down 54-45 at the half.
The beginning of the third mirrored the first as the Lakers came out slow, which allowed the Timberwolves to extend their lead to 14. The timeout did Los Angeles wonders as they reeled off an 11-0 run, but Davis was forced out again with a knee injury after Jaden McDaniels fell into his leg.
With Davis off the floor, the Wolves responded with their own 11-0 run to go back up 14 before Wayne Ellington hit his first three of the night. The game started to get away from the Lakers and they went into the final quarter trailing 85-65.
Despite some added aggression from James, L.A. was unable to make much of a dent in Minnesota lead as they continued to get destroyed on the glass. Despite trying, it was clear the Lakers did not have it and they would see their three-game winning streak snapped.
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