NBA Game Preview - Lakers v Timberwolves

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Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
LA Lakers 18 30 28 20 96
Minnesota 30 30 31 23 114
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 1, 2018
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 18,978

Weary Lakers face surging Timberwolves

According to STATS
According to STATS

Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. The Lakers and Timberwolves have split the last 12 games the teams have played, with Minnesota winning on Christmas last week, 121-104. In these 12 games, the Lakers are averaging 110.4 points and the Timberwolves are averaging 112.8 points.
  2. The Lakers lost to the Rockets in double overtime on Sunday, 148-142, and have now lost six straight games. Los Angeles has played in five overtime games this season, the most by any team in the league.
  3. The Timberwolves beat the Pacers on Sunday, 107-90, despite shooting 21.1 percent from three-point range (4-for-19). In December, Minnesota shot 34.1 percent from three-point range, the fourth lowest percentage in the month.
  4. In the Lakers' loss to the Rockets on Sunday, Julius Randle had 29 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists. It was the first game in Randle's career he had 25-plus points, 15-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists and he was the first Laker player with those numbers since Chris Kaman on March 30, 2014 against the Suns.
  5. In Minnesota's win over the Pacers on Sunday, Jimmy Butler had a team-high 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field (72.7 percent). Butler has scored at least 20 points in each of his last seven games and is averaging 28.9 points and shooting 53.3 percent from the field in these games.
  6. When the Lakers and Timberwolves played last week on Christmas, Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and shot 58.3 percent from the field. In eight career games against the Lakers, Towns is averaging 24.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, and is shooting 56.3 percent from the field.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves were bound to be weary for their New Year's Day meeting at the Target Center with both teams traveling for the second game of a back-to-back set on Monday.

Los Angeles then played a marathon, double-overtime game in Houston on Sunday that lasted nearly three hours and saw starters Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Tyler Ennis play over 40 minutes apiece.

Already short-handed due to the absences of Brook Lopez (sprained right ankle) and rookie Lonzo Ball (sprained left shoulder), the Lakers may experience a tough time against the streaking Wolves.

"It's obviously frustrating, but we're very proud of the way we're (playing despite being) short-handed right now," Los Angeles coach Luke Walton said after his team's 148-142 loss to the Rockets on Sunday. "It would've been a lot easier to kind of just pack it in and individually go out and try to put up big numbers until we get healthy or until we get to an easier part of the schedule.

"Our guys really came together tonight and really played well for most of the game."

Minnesota earned its sixth win in seven games and ninth in a span of 12 games with a commanding 107-90 victory at Indiana on Sunday.

"We just moved the ball well and our defense was phenomenal," Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. "Everybody was just really in sync."

It will be the second holiday meeting in a week between the two teams. Minnesota beat the Lakers 121-104 at Los Angeles on Christmas Day. The loss was one of six straight for the Lakers heading into play Monday.

Ball missed his fourth consecutive game on Sunday, and he won't play against the Timberwolves.

Rookie Josh Hart scored a career-high 26 points against the Rockets, and Tyler Ennis filled in for Ball with a career-high 20 points and season-high 11 assists.

Julius Randle had 29 points, 15 rebounds and six assists on Sunday. Kuzma continued his strong season with 21 points.

"We were playing really aggressive in the first quarter and we picked up our defense," Randle said. "We were able to get stops and get out and run."

The Wolves are also short-handed with point guard Jeff Teague out indefinitely due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Jimmy Butler has dealt with an ankle injury but is leading Minnesota in its recent run. Butler had 26 points Sunday, his seventh consecutive game of at least 20 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks in the Sunday win.

Of note for the Wolves against the Pacers was an improved defense. Minnesota scored the first 17 points and held a team under 100 points for the first time in eight games. Slowly, the Wolves' defense is showing positive signs.

"We made shots, they missed some they normally make, (it was) probably a combination of those two things," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They made a run at us. I think they got it down to five, but we built (the lead) back up."

Building leads in the fourth quarter had been troublesome for the Wolves this season. Minnesota's net rating in the fourth is minus-8.6, the second-worst mark in the NBA. However, the Wolves' net rating in the fourth over the past 15 games has been plus-1.9, the league's 14th-best mark over that stretch.

Updated January 1, 2018

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