LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 24: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
The Minnesota Timberwolves won their third-straight game as they pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter on Thursday night at Staples Center.
After sweeping a home-and-home against the Phoenix Suns, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ schedule began to get progressively harder with a visit to Los Angeles on Thursday night to face the LeBron James-less Lakers.
The early stages of the game were marred by another edition of foul trouble for Karl-Anthony Towns, which allowed the Lakers to take a three-point lead into halftime.
But after the Lakers took a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter, the rest of the second half was dominated first by Towns and then by Andrew Wiggins, who took turns acting as the best player on the floor as the Wolves vaulted over the Lakers and kept them at arm’s length.
Towns was great in the post, making tough shots through contact and passing deftly around double-teams. He also shot 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and was a force in the paint on defense.
Derrick Rose played 12 first half minutes before heading to the locker room with ankle soreness and missing the entire second half. That meant that Jerryd Bayless was the only true point guard remaining, and he delivered.
Bayless scored 16 points and dished out eight assists in 30 minutes, and Jared Terrell played admirably in a nine-minute stint as the backup. After the Lakers trimmed the lead to two points late in the fourth quarter, Terrell helped key a run that extended a lead that would never be relinquished.
Let’s talk player grades.
The rest of the players
Rose was solid in the first half prior to his injury. Dario Saric had four points and six rebounds in 20 minutes before leaving with a bloody mouth following an elbow from JaVale McGee, who was called for a Flagrant-1 foul.
Gorgui Dieng also had a good night with four points, six rebounds, and two assists in 15 minutes. Tolliver’s four minutes were uneventful, and Keita Bates-Diop played the final minute in relief of Towns — another easy way of building trust and providing relief for Towns that Saunders’ predecessor generally didn’t partake in.
The Timberwolves turn around and take on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. CT on Friday night. It’s the front-end of another home-and-home for the Wolves, who will host the Jazz at Target Center on Sunday.