Lakers rout Timberwolves 112-95
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On Nov. 9, the Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Los Angeles Lakers for their sixth consecutive defeat.
The first game against the Lakers seemed to be an early turning point in the season, so a rematch with the world champion at Target Center on Friday was the perfect litmus test to see where the suddenly resurgent Wolves stood.
And the Lakers coasted to a 112-95 victory in which it didn't seem like they ever really took it out of first gear.
A sold-out Target Center learned what they probably already knew. Despite arguably the most exciting week the Wolves have had in the last three seasons, they are still a long ways from the NBA elite.
That will happen to a team as young as the Wolves are, especially against the Lakers, and coach Kurt Rambis knows it.
"Obviously, not the outcome we wanted, but I thought our guys did a very good job for the vast majority of the ball game," Rambis said. "(The Lakers) are a poised, organized ball club, and when things weren't going well for us, they found a way to push the button and get the shots that they needed."
"I like what we did on both ends of the floor. They are just a really good team," Rambis added.
If it wasn't for Darko Milicic, the game could have gone even worse for the Wolves. He surprised everyone in the building with career highs in points (23), rebounds (16), assists (five) and blocks (six).
To make matters worse for the Wolves, it wasn't even Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol that beat them. Bryant had what is considered an off night for his standards: 23 points on just 8-of-27 shooting. It was Matt Barnes who killed the Wolves with 24 points off the bench in a perfect shooting night 7-for-7 field goals, 5-for-5 behind the arc and 5-for-5 at the free-throw line.
"That was not on the scouting report," Michael Beasley chimed in when a reporter asked Love a question about Barnes' performance.
If Love's 31-point, 31-rebound game last week against the Knicks was an instant classic, Friday's game is one he probably hopes the game tape gets erased.
Love was held scoreless by his Team USA teammate Lamar Odom in a frustrating 0-for-7 shooting night. Love did grab seven rebounds and add three assists.
"It's safe to say that was the worst night of my career," Love said. "I am not talking my first two years (in the NBA), I am talking ever. I apologize to the fans, my teammates, coaches, everybody. 'Didn't have it' is an understatement.
"My grandma had as many points as me."
Love was very hard on himself after the game, and it was clear he took his poor performance to heart. His coach, however, was a bit more positive.
"Kevi just couldn't find a rhythm on either end of the floor tonight and that happens," Rambis said. "It's not unusual; it's not out of the norm. He just has to pick himself up and bring his energy to the next ballgame."
The Wolves now have two days off before heading to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder on Monday.