The Los Angeles Lakers, playing without LeBron James and several other key players, lost their 4th straight game in a 118-111 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Lakers Missing Stars
The Lakers have been ravaged by injuries this season, and the hits kept coming against Minnesota. James was held out with left ankle tendinitis, while usual starters Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. also sat out.
Additionally, Patrick Beverley is out for an extended period after undergoing surgery on his right wrist. The Lakers signed veteran guard Mike Conley recently after losing Beverley, but Conley was also sidelined Thursday with Achilles soreness.
|Left ankle tendinitis
|Lonnie Walker IV
|Left knee tendinitis
|Troy Brown Jr.
|Left quadriceps strain
|Right wrist surgery
|Right Achilles soreness
The lack of continuity and injuries to key players has hampered the Lakers all season. They entered Thursday’s contest with a dismal 10-20 record.
Struggles Without LeBron
As they often do, the Lakers struggled mightily to score without James running the offense. Anthony Davis led the team with 29 points, while Austin Reaves (16), Thomas Bryant (14), and Rui Hachimura (14) were the only other Lakers in double figures.
Los Angeles shot just 41.9% from the field and 30% from 3-point range on the night. The Lakers kept it close early but couldn’t keep up down the stretch due in large part to their shooting struggles.
Davis put the team on his back at times but didn’t get enough help. It’s an ongoing issue that Los Angeles must address if they want to turn around their season.
Timberwolves Avenge Earlier Loss
The Timberwolves were likely eager to beat the Lakers after falling to them in overtime last month. Minnesota built a 15-point lead in that November 18th contest before blowing it and eventually losing.
This time, the Timberwolves didn’t let their foot off the gas. Anthony Edwards led six Minnesota players in double figures with 28 points. The Timberwolves shot 50% as a team and knocked down 16 three-pointers compared to just 7 for Los Angeles.
Minnesota did lose center Karl-Anthony Towns to injury in the 4th quarter after he landed hard on his tailbone. But the Timberwolves had more than enough firepower without their All-Star big man to finish off the victory.
The win moved Minnesota’s record to 16-15 on the year as they try to build momentum to make a playoff push in the Western Conference.
The Lakers will try to stop the bleeding when they face the San Antonio Spurs at home on Sunday. It’s another very winnable game on paper if James and other key contributors can return to action.
If Los Angeles continues to drop very losable games, it may be time for the front office to seriously weigh whether dramatic changes are needed to salvage the season. The Lakers entered this year with championship aspirations but currently sit 13th in the West amid their injury issues and lack of depth.
For Minnesota, they’ll play the likewise struggling Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. It’s a good opportunity for the Timberwolves to continue building on the momentum from their win over the short-handed Lakers.
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