The Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to turn things around on their four-game road trip but instead got off to a rough start with a 124-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
LeBron James scored the Lakers four points off a lob and jumper, but Karl-Anthony Towns matched him with five points of his own to give the Timberwolves the early lead. Turnovers were an issue for both teams with the centers struggling with offensive fouls, but Los Angeles remained down 10-6.
The Laker transition defense was a step slow against the Wolves, who pushed the ball down quickly, opening things up for Patrick Beverley and Towns. Things slipped away from Los Angeles as Minnesota started to hit their outside shots and they went into the second trailing 31-17 after L.A. shot 0-for-10 from deep.
Wayne Ellington managed to snap the Lakers’ cold streak from beyond the arc, but Anthony Edwards nailed two triples to increase the Timberwolves lead to 17. Los Angeles’ offense cratered without James on the floor and Minnesota took full advantage to break the game open and force a timeout from head coach Frank Vogel.
Los Angeles finally started to show signs of life as their defense perked up and were able to chip away at the deficit by getting to the rim and free-throw line. However, Beverley and Edwards sparked another Timberwolves run at the end of the quarter and the Lakers went into halftime down 67-46.
Talen Horton-Tucker was ruled out for the remainder of the game late in the second after re-aggravating his ankle.
Los Angeles was the aggressor to start the third, going on a 10-0 run to trim the Minnesota lead down to just 13. Turnovers became an issue for the Lakers, outside shots from Malik Monk and Russell Westbrook got them within single digits.
The Lakers’ defensive miscues allowed Minnesota to retake control of the game, though Westbrook battled to keep them from getting too far behind. The Laker bench provided a much-needed scoring boost and the Lakers went into the fourth only down 86-77.
L.A.’s run continued into the final period, with D.J. Augustin’s scoring getting the team to within four before Towns answered with a basket. Towns then started to assert himself by forcing his way in the paint to earn free throws and put the Wolves back up by double digits.
Things started to get away from the Lakers again as they had no answer for Towns, who scored 10 of 11 Timberwolves points midway through the quarter. Down big with little time left, L.A. had no run left in them and they would take another loss.
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