LOS ANGELES – It’s not too hard to figure out what point in the game decided the Los Angeles Lakers 113-90 loss on Sunday night to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the first quarter the Lakers allowed a season-high 47 points on 76 percent (16-21) shooting from the field and 78 percent (7-9) from 3-point range by the Timberwolves lead by Kevin Love’s 18 points (4-6 3pt) with eight rebounds, and Kevin Martin’s 16 points.
Los Angeles attempted to combat that output by scoring 23 points in the first quarter on 36 percent shooting from the field and did not make any of their four shots from 3-point range.
Minnesota’s huge outburst in the first quarter put the Lakers behind the eight ball for the remainder of the night trailing by as much as 29 points and were able to get as close as 14 points at the end of the third quarter.
“We came out soft. We didn’t get in with anyone,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They felt it and they made some tough shots, but they did score 47 points. And I don’t care what kind of shots they made; we didn’t get in so they didn’t feel us. There just wasn’t enough intensity into the defense and we paid for it.”
“After that we kind of settled out, but they were up by 20 (points) at that point and we got it down to about 14 the start of the fourth and it feel off again.”
Timberwolves had all five starters score in double digits highlighted by Ricky Rubio’s 2nd career triple-double on 12 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. It also marked the first Lakers’ opponent to achieve that feat since Lebron James (27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) did so on Christmas day in 2010.
“You got to give them credit. They made a lot of shots (with) 47 points in one quarter is outrageous,” Pau Gasol said, who had 11 points, 11 rebounds in 29 minutes on the floor. “We just got to put more pressure. We got to force them to take tougher shots. They made some tough one but at the same time once they got going we got figure out how to take some guys out of the game. We just got get locked in from the beginning so we don’t put ourselves in a hole like we did tonight.”
Steve Blake felt that Minnesota hot shooting in the first quarter took away any intensity the Lakers had in the game.
“They kind of took (the intensity) away from us when they made those shots,” Blake said. “We can’t allow for a team to dictate our energy in that way. So we just got to fight hard.”
But with that said, Blake knows that there are still a lot games yet to be played in the regular season, so he is looking ahead to the Lakers’ next game on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center.
“I think we’re obviously disappointed in our performance,” Blake said. “I know I am personally, but I think we have guys who are going to come in tomorrow and work hard. That’s all we can do. You can’t put your head down, you have to move on, and you figure it out. It’s a long season, and we have more games (to play).”
The Lakers finished with three players in double figures with Blake leading the way with 19 points, Jodie Meeks chipped in with 16 off the bench and Gasol had 11.
With a win against the Lakers on Sunday, the Timberwolves snapped a 22-game losing streak to their Pacific division opponent that dates back their last win on Dec. 2, 2005 at Staples Center. It also was the longest active losing streak in the NBA prior tonight’s victory.
Steve Nash did not return to the game after halftime because his back began to flare up in the first half of Sunday’s game in what he described as both back and nerve issues.
“The pain is always there, it’s not much of a concern,” Nash said. “It’s just when you’re so limited and you’re limping, you’re trying to get off your left leg the whole time, then you just can’t be effective and you’re making it worse. I tried to play through it, but to what diminishing returns.”
In the first half, he played 13 minutes scoring just two points on 0-of-3 shooting from the field, going 2-of-2 from the free throw line with three assists.
Nash’s latest injury is a cause for concern for D’Antoni as he made the call to sit out his 39-year-old point guard in the second half of the game.
“I’m concerned,” D’Antoni said. “He was struggling physically tonight, you could just see it on his face and that’s why I took him out. We shut him down more or less and he was struggling.”
Nash is expected to be examined Monday by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.
Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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