The Los Angeles Lakers are winding down their season and are hoping to pick up a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who they see three times over the next few weeks. Here is our recap:
The Lakers started the game with a Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Ivica Zubac. The Wolves started with consecutive baskets, but Randle responded by hitting a fade-away jumper in the box to get the Lakers on the scoreboard. A Clarkson three kept the score close and was a good sign that he could have a solid night taking on a Timberwolves team that he has had success against in the past.
Andrew Wiggins, now rocking cornrows, showed his athleticism by getting to the basket while Randle missed from close range on consecutive possessions. It’s become the norm, but the Lakers defense didn’t appear capable of getting stops.
Rookie Brandon Ingram took advantage of a size difference when Ricky Rubio tried to guard him and made a nice spin move to get to the basket for the lay in. Clarkson then knocked down another three to tie the game at 11. A dunk from Karl-Anthony Towns was answered by one from Zubac on a great feed by Russell, and the free throw allowed the Lakers to take the lead.
A free throw from Minnesota pulled the game even, and a basket and foul by Towns over Russells gave the Wolves the lead once again. Halfway through the quarter the score was 17-14 in favor of Minnesota.
A coast-to-coast fast break by Russell prompted a timeout from Minnesota with their lead cut to one. After a stop, Ingram had a nice drive to give the Lakers the lead once again. Wiggins once again got to the rim as the lead continued to seesaw. Larry Nance Jr., who came on for Randle, had a nice drop pass to Zubac for a slam.
Newly-signed Minnesota forward Omri Casspi got to the free throw line by drawing a foul on Tarik Black, who came in to give Zubac a rest. Clarkson hit a fading baseline jumper, giving him 8 points already. Wiggins and Clarkson then traded baskets and at the end of the quarter the Wolves had a one-point lead, 27-26.
The Lakers started the second quarter with leading scorer Clarkson taking a seat and Tyler Ennis coming on. After a turnover and foul by Black, coach Luke Walton decided to go small, bringing on recently signed David Nwaba as a wing. After some sloppy play, Nance Jr. an opening and soared to the rim to give the Lakers the lead, though it was brief because Towns answered with a basket.
After a turnover, Towns got himself to the free-throw line and converted on a pair of attempts. Nance Jr. missed on a jumper, but Nwaba was there for a tip-in to give the Lakers the lead. Nance then got a basket of his own and a breakaway and-one by Nwaba gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game at six.
The Wolves answered with five quick points, but then Russell was able to get himself to the line to stop the bleeding. A pair of free throws from Gorgui Dieng pulled the Wolves in front and this game seems destined to go back-and-forth all night.
A pair of quick baskets by Rubio gave the Wolves a 7 point lead and prompted a timeout from Lakers coach Luke Walton. The starters returned for the Lakers minus Zubac as Walton went with a small Randle/Nance pairing in the front court, but Wiggins scored on them again quickly. A steal and finish by Kris Dunn kept the pressure on Los Angeles as the Wolves began to pull away.
Randle knocked down a three, which is something he is starting to do with some regularity, but Wiggins answered with one of his own to keep the Wolves lead at nine. Not to be outdone, Ingram splashed in a three, followed by one from Dunn to make four threes in a row between the two teams.
A steal by Tyus Jones off Randle led to a windmill dunk for Towns as the Wolves looked to pour it on. Towns followed that up with a jumper to push the Wolves’ lead to double-digits, 61-51.
Zubac had a fantastic bounce pass to Nance for a dunk and looked to capitalize on some momentum but couldn’t convert on a Clarkson jumper. Rubio drew a foul with just three 3.7 seconds left on the clock and hit both to finish the half with Minnesota up 67-54.
The Lakers began the second half with a pair of free throws and a fast break bucket from Ingram. Dieng got an easy interior basket, but a quick score from Clarkson allowed the Lakers to begin the third on a 6-2 run. Rubio converted on a three, but the Lakers found Zubac for a wide-open dunk as they looked to get going.
Randle hit his second three of the game to bring the Minnesota lead to single digits as Los Angeles looked to have a bit more energy than they did in first half. On a turnover, Rubio through a behind-the-back pass all the way ahead for an easy basket, reminding everyone that he is still a phenomenal passer.
Los Angeles did what they could to keep the game close, and a three by Russell brought the Wolves lead down to 10 and caused Tom Thibodeau to signal for a timeout.
The Wolves kept their offense firing, but an off-balance, desperation three by Clarkson kept Los Angeles in the game. As the subs came on Nwaba made hustle plays as he always does and Clarkson stayed hot, hitting on a three for his eighteenth point.
By the end of the third, the Wolves lead was cut to just eight, 88-80 as Los Angeles won the third quarter 26-21, making it anyone’s game heading into the fourth.
The Wolves began the fourth with Jones getting a sneaky steal, which led to an easy basket for Towns. Clarkson responded by banking in a three and it appears that this should be a fun final quarter. After a turnover from Rubio, Walton brought on Ennis to get Clarkson a rest, and Nwaba scored on a drive to drop the Minnesota lead to just five.
Out of a timeout, Wiggins stepped up to hit a three, as he always seems to do against the Lakers. Ennis responded with a driving layup, and Thibodeau could not have been happy about the Wolves’ defense. Ennis tried again on teh next play and Dunn spiked it out of bounds, then Clarkson subbed in and knocked down a three to cut the lead to just three points.
A brewer three tied the score at 93 and the Wolves brought on Rubio to try to get some momentum back. Jones was able to draw a foul on Nance and knock down both free throws to pull the Wolves ahead but Brewer hit a tough spinning bank shot to tie it again.
The Wolves scored on two quick buckets, one from a great bounce pass by Rubio, but then Brewer scored and got fouled to drop the Minnesota lead to just one. Towns came back on for the Wolves and was immediately active on the boards, which made a difference for the Wolves.
Rubio drove on Clarkson but Towns was able to clean up the miss and finish. The Lakers were going small with Nance at center and Brewer at power forward, which left little resistance for Towns inside.
Russell missed on a three, but there was Brewer with the follow dunk in what has to be his best performance as a Laker. Walton then subbed Randle in for Nance to put a little more muscle on Towns, but by then Minnesota had gained a six-point advantage.
After a sloppy Wolves turnover, Randle failed to make them pay when he missed on a three and then Nwaba fouled Rubio on a jumper, giving Minnesota an opportunity to stretch the lead even further. He made both to make it an eight-point game, but Russell knocked down a three followed by a three and-one for Clarkson to quickly score 7 points and cut the lead to just one.
With the crowd chanting defense, Randle blocked Towns on a layup attempt and then banked in a runner to give the Lakers an improbable one-point lead. On the next possession, Wiggins was fouled on an out-of-bounds play by Clarkson and made one of two free throws to tie the game.
Russell fired up a three that rimmed out and Dieng missed at the buzzer to send us to the first overtime game of the year for the Lakers.
The Lakers won the jump ball thanks to Russell cutting across the court to steal that tip. Walton started with a lineup of Clarkson, Russell, Nwaba, Nance, and Randle. The Wolves got a stop but the Lakers responded by forcing a Wiggins miss on the other end. Nance leaked out on the wing and was fouled attacking the basket, which resulted in two made free throws.
The Wolves offense sputter as Los Angeles scored on a Clarkson three (his career-high 31st point), making it a 14-1 run for the Lakers. Los Angeles had a five-point lead with 3:31 left. The Wolves missed again on their next possession and then Nwaba got fouled at the rim and made one of two free throws. Rubio missed a three and Clarkson scored on a leak out as the Wolves fell to pieces.
After a timeout, Wiggins finally hit a three. Clarkson came down and banked in a runner in response, which was his 35th point of the game. On the next possession, Clarkson finally missed but Randle followed with a dunk, making it a 21-4 run for the Lakers with 1:24 left in overtime.
Wiggins scored and-one to make it a six-point game and force a Lakers timeout, but he fouled out on the next play trying to steal the ball from Nance. The Wolves fouled Nance again on the next play and made both free throws and Rubio airballed a pullup jumper. Russell threw the ball down court and Dieng collided with Nance while attempting to get a steal, hitting Nance in the face and giving him a bloody nose.
After watching the replay, the referees decided it was a common foul on Dieng. Nance made one of two free throws to essentially make it academic at that point. When the final buzzer sounded, the Lakers won 130-119.