Lakers end home stand with win over Wolves, 120-109

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Lakers defeat the Timberwolves for the first time this season.

LOS ANGELES — Maybe the Lakers are getting it going.

They defeat another very good team in the Minnesota Timberwolves. They go 6 games above .500 for the first time this season as they beat the Wolves, 120-109.

The Lakers and the Wolves both shot the lights out to start things. Things that stood out in the first quarter? The Lakers turning the ball over too much (more on this later) and Anthony Davis being a thief in the night. Davis had four steals in that first quarter alone. Both teams shot well in the first as the Lakers led, 32-28, after that period.

It continued on in the second. Both the Lakers and the Wolves shot the lights out from afar. We even got these fancypants handles from Austin Reaves.

I talked about Naz Reid in the preview; I had said to watch out for him. He kept the Wolves close but the Lakers still led after halftime, 69-68.

The Lakers got it going early in the third as they built an 83-70 lead. But Nickeil Alexander-Walker started off a Minnesota run with back-to-back threes. The Wolves caught the Lakers and eventually took a lead. They went back and forth before Luka Garza beat the buzzer with a fast break lay-up. That gave Minnesota a 92-91 lead entering the final quarter.

L.A. turned up the defense and kept the Wolves at bay to start the fourth. And they were able to keep possessions alive due to Davis’s offensive rebounding. Lakers started off the fourth with a 21-4 boost. The Wolves tried to come back with back-to-back threes but LeBron James stopped that little run with a lay-up.

The Wolves really missed Rudy Gobert out there, who was a late scratch. With the Wolves playing small, Anthony Davis just had his way inside. Naz Reid and Anthony Edwards did what they could for Minnie but in the end, Davis was just too much.

It’s just not Davis, either. Rui Hachimura was aggressive early. Austin Reaves was his usual steady self. D’Angelo Russell didn’t go off but he was always a threat from behind the arc. And LeBron James was able to pick and choose when to get super aggressive on scoring as he is still trying to take care of his ankle. Jaxson Hayes also had a good game as he was able to take advantage of his side.

We talked about Minnesota’s defense being the #1 in the league. Well, they showed that by making the Lakers commit 20 turnovers. But the Lakers were able to overwhelm them with their own lockdown defense in the fourth quarter (really, the second half as the Wolves only scored 41 after halftime). That run in that fourth definitely won them the game.

Anthony Davis had an incredible game as he went for 27 points, 25 rebounds (10 offensive!), 5 assists, three blocks, and 7 steals (first player in history to have 25+ points, 25+ rebounds, 5+ assists, 5+ steals, and 3+ blocks). Yes, he was short of a 5×5 by two swats. LeBron James flirted with a trip-dub (29-8-9). Austin Reaves was their third scorer at 19 points. As for the Wolves, Naz Reid ended with 25 points although he only scored four after halftime. Anthony Edwards also had 25 points while Nickeil Alexander-Walker ended with 15.

The Lakers will go back on the road for one game as they make their way up north to Sacramento. And then they’re back in Los Angeles for another home stand as they play four straight games at Crypto Dot Com.

With the homestretch of the season coming up, maybe the Lakers are peaking at the right time. 16 more games left in the regular season.