Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Timberwolves – Game 40

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The Los Angeles Lakers have looked re-energized since coming out of the All-Star break, and that was the case again on Tuesday night as they cruised to a 137-121 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to extend their winning streak to three.

 

Lakers vs Timberwolves
Photo Credit: Sportskeeda

While the Lakers won comfortably, their trend of sloppy starts continued as they committed four early turnovers to start the game, but took the early lead because the Timberwolves were not sharp themselves. Most of Los Angeles’ points came at the free-throw line, while Minnesota eventually got to executing their offense and kept pace.

The number of free throws killed the flow of the game for both teams, but Talen Horton-Tucker was able to inject some life into the Lakers by driving into the restricted area for a dish to Montrezl Harrell and a tough layup. Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter and Los Angeles went into the second leading 31-30.

Harrell established himself in the low post early in the second, earning another trip to the line and scoring in the paint to keep the Lakers narrowly ahead. However, turnovers once again kept L.A. from breaking the game open and Minnesota took advantage with a 3-pointer to recapture the lead.

 

Back-to-back threes from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alfonzo McKinnie put the Lakers back up, but Karl Anthony-Towns made sure the T-Wolves stayed within striking distance. Defense was optional in the closing minutes, but the Purple and Gold managed to hold on to a 71-70 advantage heading into the half.

 

Lakers vs Timberwolves
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

LeBron James asserted himself offensively to begin the third, but the Timberwolves took the momentum as they carved up the Lakers defense. However, James did come up with a highlight block on Jake Layman and followed it up with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two.

The offensive execution for the Lakers picked up midway through the quarter as they were able to generate good looks, going on a 15-3 run in the process. Kyle Kuzma was able to score a couple of times in transition and L.A. walked into the fourth up 102-94.

Horton-Tucker gave L.A. their first double-digit lead of the night after converting an impressive and-1, while Harrell denied Naz Reid on the other end. The Timberwolves had no answer for the James-Harrell pick-and-roll that resulted in three straight dunks, giving the Lakers more breathing room.

Minnesota looked like they might make a late run, but Harrell was able to lift the Lakers offense and keep them at bay.

For the second consecutive night, James led the way for the Lakers with a triple-double, finishing with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists in the victory. With the win, the Lakers swept their season series against the last-place Timberwolves.

 

The Lakers are inquiring about big men. The Pacers Myles Turner and the Cavaliers Andre Drummand are two potential targets.

 

As the Los Angeles Lakers get further into their season, it has become clear that they are in need of depth in the frontcourt. The trade deadline is fast approaching — and with it, buyout season — and L.A. has been tied to almost every available player that plays the power forward and center positions.

One of the names that have come up most recently is Indiana Pacers center, Myles Turner. He has seen his name in trade talks for quite some time, and it might be the perfect time for the Pacers to sell high with their playoff hopes fading and Turner leading the NBA in blocked shots.

According to J. Michael of IndyStar, if the Pacers do look to sell, the Lakers are reportedly one of the teams that could look to make an offer.

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond is another target. At just 27 years of age, Drummond has been one of the NBA’s best rebounders since his arrival to the league in 2012. If the Cavaliers fail to find a trade partner, he will likely become a free agent for anyone to sign. The Brooklyn Nets are also a team to watch for Drummond should he be bought out.

If it truly is down to just the Lakers and the Nets, there is no telling where Drummond will end up. The Nets can offer him more money — up to $5.7 million — than the Lakers, who will only be able to offer a veteran minimum. However, the Lakers can likely offer more minutes and a more defined role.

The Lakers will be tied to almost any available player over the next couple of weeks, so it will be on Rob Pelinka and the front office to make smart decisions that bolster the roster before the postseason begins.

 

The Lakers take on the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday with tip-off at Staples Center is scheduled for 7:30 pm. You can catch the game on Spectrum SportsNet and NBA T.V.

 

 

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe Arrigo on Twitter @JoeArrigo

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