In the name of Clyde Lovellette, Jim Pollard, Vern Mikkelson (pictured above), Slater Martin, George Mikan, Herm Schaefer, the U’s own Don Carlson, Hamline’s own Howie Schultz, Sid Hartman, John Kundla and Bud Fuckin’ Grant, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 114-96 on Monday night. L.A. had the temerity to wear Minneapolis Lakers throwback jerseys in Minneapolis, as visitors to the state whose basketball team they poached in 1960. The NBA’s exodus from the Twin Cities might be ancient history, but seeing those gorgeous gold-trimmed baby blues worn by the looting outfit that absconded with a dynasty in the making (the “Los Angeles” “Lakers” made nine Finals appearances in their first thirteen seasons in California) was an affront to our state pride.
This is what the Lakers get for wearing those jerseys. pic.twitter.com/R1SMRdXRkh
— Kyle Ratke (@Kyle_Ratke) January 2, 2018
They should have to abandon these and leave them in the Wolves’ wardrobe going forward:
The Timberwolves jumped out to a 16-0 lead, forcing the Lakers into 4 missed shots and 3 turnovers to begin the game, thus causing Luke Walton to yank all five starters at once in favor of his bench. After that, the scoring evened out a bit; L.A. won the rest of the half 48-44 after their abysmal start. The first half was marked by an insane amount of whistles – a total of 33 personal fouls were called, and a combined 43 free throws were attempted. Karl-Anthony Towns was tagged with his third foul with 8:59 to go in the second quarter, but Gorgui Dieng stepped up and filled in admirably, finishing the game with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Los Angeles got out to a much better start to the second half than they did the first – the sleepwalking Wolves saw their lead trimmed to 5 points on a Kyle Kuzma three just 2:30 into the third quarter. After some more back-and-forth, the Lakers once again cut the lead to 6 on a Brandon Ingram jumper. Karl-Anthony Towns answered with an emphatic putback dunk…
— A Wolf Among Wolves (@AWAWBlog) January 2, 2018
And over the next four minutes of gameplay, Minnesota’s lead ballooned from 6 to 19 points. The Lakers went 0-for-4 with 3 turnovers (much like they did to open the contest) during the onslaught, during which Jimmy Butler seemed to take particular delight in blowing up possessions and Tyus Jones swooped into passing lanes for easy steals. The rout was on; Cole Aldrich got some burn, Marcus Georges-Hunt dribbled into a three attempt, and Jimmy Butler only logged 37 minutes, all telltale signs of a blowout victory.
L.A. finished with 24 turnovers compared to just 18 assists. They had Alex Caruso and Josh Hart assigned to guard Butler, who ended up with 28 points and 9 dimes. Corey Brewer was asked to dribble a lot, and finished with 4 turnovers, and he was also asked to take two corner threes, neither of which touched the rim. Kyle Kuzma, who dropped 31 on the Wolves on Christmas Day, mustered just 6 tonight on 2-of-7 shooting. Julius Randle had 15 points and 12 boards, and was the closest thing to resembling a bright spot for Los Angeles, but even he got some serious tunnel vision (especially running the break) and committed 4 turnovers of his own.
The Wolves are now 24-14, 4th in the Western Conference, winners of 7 of 8, and on a 52 win pace. They head out east next for games at Brooklyn (very winnable) and Boston (who’s scuffled a bit recently) before opening up a 5 game homestand (where they welcome, in order, New Orleans, Cleveland, OKC, New York, and Portland). Jimmy Butler is asserting himself, Andrew Wiggins’ shot appears to have returned, and Tyus Jones seems perfectly capable of steering the team while Jeff Teague is away. And, of course, they beat those insolent “Lakers.” Things are good.
A few other odds and ends from this one…
— Aaron Brooks sucks. Give me one good reason why the Wolves shouldn’t use their open roster spot on literally any other available point guard. I’ll wait.
–Andrew Wiggins – 9 rebounds? 4 assists? He is what he is at this point and I don’t think it makes much sense to trumpet every time he has more than 2 boards and 1 dime but yeah, he was very good in this game. Credit where it’s due.
–Bazz stayed firmly glued to the bench. On New Year’s Eve, he snapped a 13-game DNP streak. I have a feeling this next one will be just as long. He couldn’t even get garbage time burn in this one. Sad.
–And finally… Happy New Year to all of the readers out there. This website is fun as hell and we are all very humbled that you come to us to read about the Minnesota Timberwolves. From our AWAW family to yours, blessings and joy (and lots of victories to celebrate!) in 2018.