Zach LaVine, Timberwolves defeat Lakers, 120-119


Well, Kobe Bryant certainly had a good look at it. With 2.8 seconds left and with the game on the line, the Lakers inbounded the ball to Bryant—something we’ve seen time and time again—and he missed a three pointer that would have given the Lakers a much needed victory.

Andrew Wiggins wasn’t exactly draped all over him either. Wiggins probably didn’t want to foul Bryant and put him at the line like he did to Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls at the end of the game a few weeks back, but regardless of what was going through his head, he gave Bryant enough space to do as he wanted.

Bryant just missed the shot.

It’s surprising the Wolves were even in position to win this ball game considering the state of affairs just minutes earlier. Living legend Nick Young put the Lakers up 115-107, capping off a flurry of “swaggy” buckets with a monster jam. With 3:45 left and the same score on the game board, Young dove for a critical loose ball and managed to call a timeout which allowed the Lakers to maintain possession. Young’s selfless effort seemed destined to be the defining moment in a game in which the Lakers were simply playing harder than our Minnesota Timberwolves.

But we kept battling.

Our Wolves went on a 13-4 run to finish the game and stole the win away from a Lakers team that probably deserved to win it. Despite the run to finish the game, the Wolves efforts in the final moments didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Thad Young–with the chance to put the Wolves up two—split his free throws with 2.8 seconds left, and then there’s Wiggins, who played a “not to lose” variety of  defense on the last possession.

This must just be what happens sometimes when two bad teams play against each other. It’s almost December and the Wolves and Lakers have a combined seven victories on the season, and it showed on the floor. So even though the Wolves pulled out the win, 120-19, it just doesn’t matter all that much. After all, one of these teams had to win tonight.

The Wolves move to 4-10 on the season. They play the Blazers in Portland on Sunday night.

Quick Takes

  • Zach LaVine outshines his childhood hero.  Zach LaVine grew up worshiping Kobe Bryant. When I say “grew up” I mean it literally, because Zach was in diapers when Kobe broke into the league in 1996. Tonight, after watching Kobe score 12 first quarter points from his courtside seat on the bench, Zach checked in and proceeded to show his idol that he belonged. LaVine scored 18 points in the second quarter, and he finished with 28 on the game. Kobe only scored 26. No matter what happens from here on out in Zach’s career, he’ll always have tonight, and tonight was pretty sweet.
  • Defense? What Defense? At some point in the third quarter, when both the Wolves and Lakers were seemingly scoring on each and every possession, I had to ask myself what the hell I was even watching. The Lakers scored 38 and the Wolves scored 39 in the frame, so it’s not like we witnessed anything historical, but still, the lack of effort put forth on the defensive end was glaring. To summarize: tonight was more about bad defense than it was about good offense.
  • Keep on smilin’ Wes Johnson. I didn’t think Wes had it him.  Apparently there’s an inner beast lurking underneath that infamous smile of his, and tonight it reared its ugly head. Johnson really tried to lay it on the Wolves tonight, and he all but had his vengeance on the team that gave up on him two years ago. He finished the game with 19 points, on 7-10 from the field. But true to form, Wes missed a critical three pointer that would have put L.A. up 120-119. Good to see things haven’t changed too much.