Recap: Lakers Fall To Timberwolves In Penultimate Preseason Game
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves at Arena on Wednesday night in what was their penultimate preseason game.

With the start of the regular season less than a week away, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham played all of his key players regular minutes for the first three quarters. On the Minnesota side, both of their All-Star big men in Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert sat out.

That would seem to favor the Lakers, but instead, it was the Timberwolves that came away with a 118-113 victory as L.A. fell to 1-4 in the preseason.

LeBron James got the scoring started for L.A. by knocking down a 3-pointer and then a layup, followed by a Lonnie Walker IV layup to make it 7-0. The Timberwolves answers with a trio of triples though and took an 11-9 lead into the first timeout.

James and Walker accounted for the Lakers’ first 12 points as they were both aggressive getting to the basket. After a nice boxout on a bigger player, Walker got the rebound and went coast-to-coast, finding James for an easy bucket and getting the Lakers-heavy crowd on their feet.

As he has done all preseason, Kendrick Nunn provided the Lakers with instant offense off the bench by scoring four quick points. The Lakers’ small lineup struggled on the glass though and as a result, the score was 30-30 after one quarter with Anthony Davis beating the buzzer to tie it.

That bucket got Davis going as he came out aggressive in the second quarter. Every time the Lakers took a lead though, the Timberwolves would respond with a triple to keep it close. While Minnesota started off 7-for-17 from deep, the Lakers were just 1-of-16.

The Lakers’ poor outside shooting continued to haunt them as it led to fastbreak opportunities and a run for Minnesota as they took their first double-digit lead. Naz Reid led the way offensively with 20 first-half points for Minnesota while former Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell had 15.

Austin Reaves finally got a 3 to go near the end of the half but the Lakers still went into the locker room trailing 62-54.

The Lakers seemed to come out with more energy to begin the third quarter, diving for loose balls, rebounding and even draining some outside shots. They got their deficit down to two before a quick 5-0 Timberwolves run forced Ham to call a timeout.

A bright spot for the Lakers in the first half, Walker’s night was cut short after Patrick Beverley fell onto him and he suffered a left ankle sprain. Walker finished with 12 points, three rebounds and an assist.

L.A. found itself trailing 87-80 through three quarters, which marked the end of the game for Ham’s key rotation players in the second-to-last preseason contest. That gave young players like Cole Swider a chance to get some run and he came in and immediately drained a triple.

It was a Timberwolves young player in Luka Garza that got hot though, scoring 10 straight points for his team to build the lead up to 15. Swider and the Lakers answered right back though with an 11-0 run to cut it to four with five minutes to play.

Wenyen Gabriel hit a late 3 to get the Lakers as close as they had been all half within three points. After a Minnesota free throw extended it to four though, and then the Lakers missed on the ensuing possession to seal the victory for the Timberwolves.

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