In the Los Angeles Lakers first game of Anthony Davis’ extended absence, Dennis Schroder and LeBron James carried the weight in a 112-104 win over the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, who were without D’Angelo Russell.
The Lakers started off shooting the ball with confidence, hitting five of their first seven. However, four turnovers allowed the Timberwolves to keep close and they held a 15-11 lead with 7:20 to go in the first quarter.
Dennis Schroder and LeBron James were the early contributors, scoring 17 of the Lakers’ first 22 points. Schroder individually had 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
Turnovers continued to be an issue as L.A. coughed up the ball 10 times in 12 minutes. That didn’t matter on the scoreboard, however, with the Lakers leading 30-27 after hitting 75% of their shots.
Shooting percentages and turnovers cooled down considerably in the second quarter, but interior defense became the newest issue. As the Timberwolves led 49-44 halfway through the period, their centers Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid had a combined 21 points on 9-for-9 from the field.
In what has become a trend this season, the Lakers went on yet another extended scoring drought, this time spanning over three minutes in the second quarter. Schroder broke the dry spell with a mid-range jumper at the three-minute mark.
L.A. stormed back from an eight-point deficit after their scoring drought ended to take the lead just before half, 57-56. James, Schroder and Montrezl Harrell led the way with 18, 14 and 10 points respectively. Towns was the Timberwolves leading scorer with 13.
The second half began with both teams on fire and shooting a combined 14-for-18. The rookie Anthony Edwards got going on the offensive end, and the Timberwolves were able to take hold of a 75-71 advantage at the first timeout.
With 2:47 to go in the third, the Lakers trailed 77-75 after a four-minute stretch in which both teams scored just six total points. Most of that drought came with James on the bench.
The offense picked up for L.A. in the final few minutes, allowing them to get a small lead before the end of the period. Heading into the fourth the Lakers led 86-84.
The final quarter began with the Lakers in relative control on both ends of the floor. With the exception of some Jordan McLaughlin makes, L.A. was able to get stops when they needed, extending their lead to 98-89 with 8:15 to go.
An 11-0 run by the Lakers — the last five coming with James on the bench — put them in full control as they led 103-89. The Timberwolves would not go away quietly with the help of Edwards, going on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to five in the final three minutes.
L.A. was able to regain composure, scoring on back-to-back possessions to effectively put the game out of reach.
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