Lakers barely avoid ending on wrong side of history with 119-115 win over Minnesota

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “We have to play hard and have to play with a lot of energy,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said beforehand. “Our effort has to be at a maximum effort. If we do that, we feel we have a good chance to win.”The Lakers (10-41) mostly did that against the Timberwolves (14-36).Although Scott considered it a “50-50” chance Bryant would play with his continuously sore right shoulder, Bryant looked spry and efficient with 38 points on 10-of-21 shooting, five assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Lou Williams added 20 points. And the Lakers’ young core showed growth. D’Angelo Russell looked assertive attacking the basket with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting and three assists in 28 minutes, despite sitting the final 3:36. Julius Randle looked active on defense and even showed an occasional hook shot en route to 15 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson added 16 points, marking the 28th time in 29 games he cracked double digits. The Lakers nursed a 66-52 halftime lead, which marked the most points they scored in a half this season. But then the Timberwolves went on a 7-0 run to take a 102-101 lead with 5:15 left. That’s when Bryant took over. “However we have to get it done, ugly, pretty, scrappy, we got to get it,” Randle said. “No matter how it comes, we have to get a win.” The Lakers had not played so poorly since the 1993-94 season, when coach Magic Johnson oversaw the team closing out the campaign with a 10-game losing streak.“Buck and I talk about a whole lot of things,” said Scott, who played with Johnson during the Showtime Era. “But losing streaks aren’t one of them,”Scott could only chuckle on Johnson’s short-lived coaching experience. “When I saw him coaching, I thought, ‘This isn’t going to work,’” said Scott, who added Johnson said during his NBA career he wanted to become a businessman. “When you’re a coach and like him as a Hall of Famer and one of the best players ever to play the game, sometimes it’s hard for you to swallow when guys weren’t as focused and prepared.” The Lakers mostly looked that way, however, against Minnesota, morphing a season full of boos into a night’s worth of cheers. center_img Kobe Bryant scored seemingly any time he shot the ball. His supporting cast provided a dangerous mix of options. The Lakers nursed a double-digit lead for most of the night. And Jack Nicholson sat courtside at Staples Center enjoying the show.It looked like the Lakers would not end on the wrong side of history by mimicking the glory years when a regular-season game meant idle time before the real (post)season started. But then they flashed back to their normal selves.The Lakers still secured a 119-115 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night at Staples Center, snapping both a 10-game losing streak and avoiding setting a franchise record for most consecutive defeats in a season. But they nearly blew a 16-point lead in the process. The result did not become secure until Bryant scored 14 of the Lakers’ final 18 points. He hit a 20-foot jumper over Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins for a 113-110 lead with 26.4 seconds left. Bryant then made six foul shots for the final cushion. last_img

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