LOS ANGELES — It didn’t take center Tyson Chandler to make an impact on the floor with his new team helping push the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-110 at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Chandler took the floor for 23 minutes where he notched two points on 1-of-4 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds in his limited action in his debut with the Lakers. Although he didn’t do much offensively, the 36-year-old had the bulk of his impact defensively and on the boards primarily in the second half where he played 14 minutes on the floor with just over six minutes of that playing time coming in the fourth quarter.
He was key late in the quarter playing in the final four minutes that saw him anchor the back end of the defense while presenting to be a problem in the paint for Timberwolves All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns. However, his biggest plays came in the final minute as he had a pair of tapout offensive rebounds that kept the possession alive leading to Kyle Kuzma drawing the foul to increase the lead to two points with under 10 seconds left.
Chandler also had a solid close out on Derrick Rose‘s potential game-winning 3-pointer that he was able to present some sort of closeout effort on the open look. It was a performance that head coach Luke Walton had hoped to see from the veteran big man in his first outing with the team.
“He was good,” Walton said. “Obviously, the possession with those tap outs late in the game really helped seal the deal. He’s a winning player, he’s a champion for a lot of years in this league and he gave us a taste of what he could do as far as when he was out there.”
This was an outing that, Chandler was glad to get out of the way, but was more importantly glad he could help the team grab a win in his debut.
“It has been a crazy 48 hours, but it was great to get the first one out of the way,” Chandler said. “Be out there playing competitive basketball. Being able to help the team that I watched my entire life get a W.”
It was game that Chandler admitted that he didn’t have his legs under him after only being able to participate in practice in the last two days since he joined the team as he had been going through the entire buyout process with the Phoenix Suns over the weekend.
This shifted his focus to helping the team on the defensive end while his teammates handled the other end of the floor. Although it was just the first game, Chandler is hoping the second-half defensive team performance along with his play can help the Lakers work toward being a more efficient team on that end of the floor as the season wears along.
“I will make you comfortable on one end,” Chandler said. “You guys just take care of the other. They have young fresh legs My job is to help get stops and rebounds. Then get them out. The more we are aggressive defensively the more fun they are going to have on the other end.”
Bob Garcia IV
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