In a game that shouldn’t have been remotely close, the Wolves finally were able to keep an opponent at arms length for the entire 48 minutes.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in a sorry, sorry place. From the start of Friday night’s game, there was zero effort from Mike D’Antoni’s troops. The Wolves, on the other hand, continued their roll from an easy win over Atlanta on Wednesday, and when it was all said and done, had set the franchise records for points scored in a regulation game with 143.
The first quarter was largely a heavy dose of impressive play from the Wolves, with the offense firing on all cylinders. The ball was moving with great rhythm in the half court, and the home team welcomed Nikola Pekovic from his six-game absence by feeding him consistently in the post. And poor Chris Kaman didn’t have a prayer of slowing down the hulking Montenegrin.
At one point in the second quarter, however, the Lakers missed 15 consecutive (!!) shots from the field, and were 2 of 21 on field goal attempts before making a few baskets at the end of the half. The Wolves’ bench played well in the frame, to be sure, but the Lakers’ incompetence was a sight to behold.
By halftime, the Wolves were able to compile a ridiculous 74-43 lead. The third quarter saw Minnesota expand their lead to as many as 40 points, and Pekovic simply rolled over everyone that the Lakers tried to place in his way en route to a completely and utterly dominating performance — 26 points on 9 of 10 shooting.
Kevin Love was able to log another triple-double by chasing down a lose ball in the corner as time expired in the third quarter, which drew a number of laughs from the home bench. It was the final minute that any of the Wolves’ starters were forced to play, as the fourth quarter was simply twelve minutes of garbage time.
When the dust had settled, nobody on the Wolves was forced to play more than 29 minutes. Love’s triple-double was of the 22-10-10 variety, Kevin Martin chipped in 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting, and Ricky Rubio added 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting, 6 assists, and one steal, which tied him with Ty Corbin for the most steals in a season in Timberwolves history.
It was an impressive win, sleepwalking Lakers or no sleepwalking Lakers. Next up is the surging Brooklyn Nets on the road. Tip-off is at 6:00 CT on Sunday evening. We’ll see you over the weekend for a game preview and a recap on Sunday night.