The Lakers are going into the third and last game of the road trip to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They started off the trip well with two wins against the Kings and Pelicans with the latter being a blowout, winning the two games by a total of 37 points.
But today’s game against the Timberwolves won’t be as easy as the two prior. The Kings and Pelicans rely on star power. But the Wolves get top performances from potentially multiple players like the Lakers.
Thats not to say the Wolves don’t have stars. Andrew Wiggins is averaging 23 points a game and last years No. 1 pick Karl Anthony towns is averaging 22 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. The Lakers can’t just focus on one player because the rest of the pack will eat you.
Speaking of eating, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell have been playing great over the last few games. Randle has averaged 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists on this road trip. He’s been phenomenal the entire season but the last few games he’s really shown his development.
Russell has also played better over the past two games. He’s scored 39 total points against the Kings and Pelicans and he’s done it efficiently.
Thats not to say he’s been perfect. He’s turned the ball over a lot more than usual lately and he’s look complacent on the court. Today’s game will be a good test for him as Ricky Rubio is healthy and he’s a very capable defender. Russell also won’t have a huge size advantage so he will have to be more crafty.
As for another young Laker, Brandon Ingram was playing his best game of the regular season at New Orleans with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and made 2-3 three pointers. But in the third quarter, the rookie twisted his ankle and had to go to the locker room. Despite the injury, reports after the game say he should be available against Minnesota game.
A huge key to the game are the bench units. The Lakers bench has been easily the best in the league and they take over the game when the starters come out. Luke Walton dropping Jordan Clarkson to the bench to start the season has worked great as he’s had multiple games with over 20 points. Look for the Lakers bench to continue dominating against the Timberwolves.
Death Lineup, Part 2: Lou/JC/Ingram/LNJ/Black's Net Rating of +28.1 ranks #1 in the NBA of any lineup that's played 40+ minutes.
— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) November 13, 2016
This game is going to be an interesting one. Both teams are extremely young with multiple lottery pick players on their respective teams. They both hired new coaches and each team looks to have a bright future.
The consensus among many entering the season was that the Wolves would be playing well and the Lakers would likely be struggling. However, it’s been quite the opposite as the Lakers have a 6-4 record and the Wolves are 2-6.
The Wolves are coming off some frustrating losses and some blowouts so look for them to come roaring back.
The game tips off at 4:00 PST tonight and the game will be televised on Spectrum Sportsnet.