The Minnesota Timberwolves lost 22 consecutive games to the Los Angeles Lakers before ending the skid with a win during November of last season. The Wolves have taken four of the previous six meetings between these teams, including a 120-119 win at Staples Center earlier this year. Last time the Lakers were in Minneapolis, though, all eyes were on Kobe Bryant as he surpassed Michael Jordan on the NBA's All-Time Scorers list.
Bryant is still recovering from surgery performed on his right rotator cuff and will not play tonight. Additionally, the Lakers, playing their second game in as many nights, will be without Ronnie Price (right elbow surgery), Julius Randle (tibia fracture, right leg), and Nick Young (fracture, left kneecap).
Head coach Byron Scott will not coach tonight's game against the Timberwolves. The Lakers' webpage states the following.
Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott will miss the team's games in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, March 24th and Minnesota on Wednesday, March 25th to remain in Southern California for the funeral of his mother Dorothy Scott, who passed away last Sunday at the age of 72. Scott is expected to re-join the team in Toronto for the remainder of the road trip.
Paul Pressey will serve as acting head coach in Scott's absence.
As for the Wolves...
- Anthony Bennett: Has missed the past 16 games with a sprained right ankle. Sidelined indefinitely.
- Kevin Garnett: Has missed the last seven contests due to a sore left knee. Questionable.
- Justin Hamilton: Has been sidelined for the past four games due to illness. Doubtful.
- Robbie Hummel: Has missed the last 27 games after suffering a fractured right hand. Sidelined indefinitely.
- Kevin Martin: Dressed but did not play Monday at Utah due to a strained left hamstring. Questionable.
- Shabazz Muhammad: Underwent surgery on Feb. 23 to repair a ruptured ligament in the middle finger on his left hand. He's expected to miss the remainder of the season.
- Gary Neal: Missed Monday's game at Utah after suffering a sprained right ankle Sunday. Doubtful.
- Nikola Pekovic: Has missed the past seven games due to a sore right ankle. Doubtful.
- Ricky Rubio: Has missed the past three games. Has missed the past three games (and five of the last six) due to a sore right ankle. Questionable.
Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins described what how it feels to play alongside not very many teammates. Neither seemed as though they were fatigued, in fact, it sounded like these rookies are more than OK with playing a majority of the minutes. The Wolves recently defeated the Utah Jazz despite only having seven players.
Wiggins: It's been tough, but, you know, it's been fun at the same time, you know, everyone is gettin' to play a lot of minutes. We're competing, you know, we've won two of our last three games. So we're competing. It's been fun.
LaVine: You just gotta fight it out. You know, you have seven people you're going to war with. That’s your crew. You gotta make sure you gotta protect ‘em; just try not to get anybody (teammates) in foul trouble and do anything (you can) for ‘em (teammates).
I asked LaVine if he's played on any youth teams with short rotations.
"AAU," LaVine answered almost immediately. "That's about it. You know, you have about three games in one day (with) maybe seven, eight players. I think that might be all of our (teammates) last experience with eight people on a team."
It's uncertain how many players the Wolves will have available tonight against Los Angeles. Flip Saunders will speak to the media before the game, so we'll know more after that.