Tim's Game Preview: Game 36, Los Angeles Lakers

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Kobe Bryant is questionable for tonight's game after suffering a concussion and a broken nose in Sunday's All-Star Game.

Minnesota Timberwolves (18-17) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (20-14) at STAPLES Center

The Minnesota Timberwolves were down by 3 points at the end of the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers, but thanks to a 9-of-10 night from Derrick Williams and a 11-of-15 night from Michael Beasley, the Wolves outscored the Clippers by 15 in the 4th quarter. They secured their second straight win and are once again over .500, only 1/2 game out of a playoff spot.

Tonight's game against the Lakers is the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back, which will finish tomorrow night in Phoenix. The Lakers have won the last 16 games against the Timberwolves and have not lost at STAPLES Center to Minnesota since November 9th, 2005.

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If Michael Beasley is being showcased on this west coast road trip, he started the showcase off very well.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. Andrew Bynum
PF: Kevin Love vs. Pau Gasol
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Metta World Peace
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Andrew Goudelock
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Derek Fisher

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If you have yet to read this amazing oral history on the Malice at the Palace, click here and read this piece from Grantland's Jonathan Abrams.

Last 5 Games

Los Angeles Lakers (2nd in Pacific, 1 gm behind LAC; 6th in West, 7 gms behind OKC)

Fri, Feb 17: Win vs. Phoenix 111-99
Sun, Feb 19: Loss at Phoenix 90-102
Mon, Feb 20: Win vs. Portland 103-92
Wed, Feb 22: Win at Dallas 96-91
Thu, Feb 23: Loss at Oklahoma City 85-100

Minnesota Timberwolves (4th in Northwest, 9 1/2 gms behind OKC; Tied for 9th in West, 1/2 gm behind 8th seed)

Fri, Feb 17: Win at Houston 111-98
Sun, Feb 19: Win vs. Philadelphia 92-91
Mon, Feb 20: Loss at Denver 101-103 (OT)
Wed, Feb 22: Win vs. Utah 100-98
Tue, Feb 28: Win at LA Clippers 109-97

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Laker fans are banking their playoff hopes on being able to trade for Dwight Howard, using Andrew Bynum as the main piece. In the words of Chris Webber, "good luck".

Injuries

Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant - Questionable with a broken nose and concussion

Andrew Bynum - Probable with a sore right knee

Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Love - Probable with bruised ribs/back

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Meet the two best point guards for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Noteworthy Stats

  • Kobe Bryant is taking more shots per game this season (23.7) than he has since the 2005-06 season (27.2). He has the lowest FG% (.435) than he has since the 2004-05 season (.433)
  • Per-36 minutes this season:
    - Andrew Bynum, 16.9 pts, 13.3 rebs, 5.3 FTA, 2.1 blocks, 2.5 TOs, .544 FG%, .571 TS%
    - Dwight Howard, 18.9 pts, 14.3 rebs, 10.2 FTA, 2.1 blocks, 3.1 TOs, .554 FG%, .555 TS%
  • If the NBA season ended today, Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio would have the 6th and 10th highest WS/48 (.117 and .100, respectively) of any rookie in Minnesota Timberwolves' history who played more than 10 games in that season. The rest of the top 10:
    1. Dean Garrett, '96-'97, .179
    2. Wally Szczerbiak, '99-'00, .137
    3. Felton Spencer, '90-'91, .128
    4. Kevin Love, '08-'09, .124
    5. Craig Smith, '06-'07, .121
    7. Andrae Patterson, '98-'99, .114
    8. Stanley Jackson, '93-'94, .102
    9. Sam Mitchell, '89-'90, .102
    Kevin Garnett is 11th at .092, Stephon Marbury is 16th at .077, Nikola Pekovic is 29th at .035, Wesley Johnson is 31st at .030 and Jonny Flynn is 39th with .002. Three rookies - Mark Davis, Corey Brewer and Donyell Marshall - are tied for last place at -0.005.
  • Only three players this season have started 20 or more games, but have played less than 500 total minutes: Andris Biedrins (27/464), Timofey Mozgov (25/455) and Darko Milicic (20/395)
  • Ricky Rubio had a stretch from January 21st to February 7th where he had 10 or more assists in 8 out of 10 games. In the 10-game stretch from February 8th to February 28th, he has had 0 games of 10 or more assists

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Mike Brown gives the slow clap to his team after only losing to the Thunder by 15.

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