NBA Analysis: Lakers Destroy Kevin Love, Timberwolves

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The Lakers completed a perfect 3-0 road trip, with a 112-95 whitewashing of the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on Friday night.

It was also a perfect night for Matt Barnes, and not just figuratively.  Off the bench, he led the Lakers with 24 points, and went a perfect 7-7 from the field, including 5-5 from the 3-point line, and 5-5 from the foul line.   And to top it off, he also had seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals.  This was easily Barnes’ best game as a Laker and maybe of his career.

Kobe Bryant had 23 points and eight rebounds, and several highlight plays despite shooting just 8-27 from the field.  Pau Gasol shook off tweaking his ankle early in third quarter, and scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.  Lamar Odom added 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

The Lakers didn’t take the Wolves lightly this time like they did in Los Angeles two weeks ago.  They came to play from the start, led 51-41 at halftime, and by as much as 23 in the fourth quarter. They emptied the bench and cruised to the victory to finish up an undefeated road trip, with all three wins by at least 11 points.

The Lakers also made a concerted effort to shut down the league’s leading rebounder Kevin Love, as he didn’t score in the game and grabbed just seven rebounds in 34 minutes of action.  Love victimized the Lakers last time for 23 points and 24 rebounds, and recently had a 30/30 game against the New York Knicks.  But on this night, he was completed taken out of the game by Lamar Odom.

Minnesota did have a couple of bright spots though.  Darko Milicic scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and had six blocks, in what was arguably the best game of his career.  And Michael Beasley continues his resurgence up north, scoring 25 points and notching 10 rebounds.

The Lakers did get a scare when Shannon Brown was poked in the right eye early in the fourth quarter on a layup attempt.  He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but was having a hard time seeing out of the eye, and went to the locker room to be checked out.  He did return to the game and played several minutes, as it appeared the injury was not that serious.

The Lakers also did a good job on the defensive end, holding the Wolves under 40% (39.6%) from the field, and just 6-26 (23.1%) from the 3-point line.    They also had 10 steals and eight blocked shots.

The team returns home for a Sunday contest against Monta Ellis and the Golden St. Warriors at Staples Center. The Lakers beat the Warriors 107-83 back on Halloween night at Staples, as the team from the Bay Area played without guard Stephen Curry.  This time they will be without All-Star forward David Lee, who is recovering from an infected elbow suffered in a game last week against the New York Knicks.

Link: Lakers @ Timberwolves Box Score