The Wolves stumble back into the Staples Center tonight on the back end of what has been a brutal west coast road trip. After convincing defeats against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, along with a shameful beating from the Portland Trail Blazers, this battered Wolves squad squares up against LeBron James and his new-age Showtime Lakers. Will General Soreness lead the way against King James and his Lakers? #AskJimmy.
The bad news entering tonight is that Minnesota has often looked lifeless throughout the early aughts of this season. The good news is that the Lakers haven’t looked much better.
The Lakers’ season thus far looks fairly similar to the Wolves (in terms of wins and losses – Minnesota hoists the MVP trophy in the drama department). By my count, the Wolves have two promising wins so far this season: against the Indiana Pacers and the Utah Jazz. The Lakers, on the other hand, have a pair of their own against the Blazers and the Denver Nuggets. (LA is the only team to hand Denver a loss so far this season.)
Looking back to the October 29 win against the Lakers (124-120) when they swung through the Target Center, the Wolves won that game at the line (shooting 26-30 against the Lakers’ 10-15) and beyond the arc (shooting 48 percent compared to the Lakers’ 36 percent), which helped lift Minnesota to victory down the stretch.
Despite containing LeBron James early on, he exploded late to end up with a near-triple-double. ‘Bron gonna ‘Bron, so this matchup will likely come down to how well the Wolves can contain the likes of Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, both of whom had solid showings the last go-around.
An Ingram-Andrew Wiggins matchup should be one of those that we look forward to for years to come, but as Wiggins continues to stumble over expectations, Ingram appears to be hitting his stride. Regardless, Wiggins missed the last game against the Lakers with a quad injury, so assuming Butler covers James (and also assuming General Soreness in fact plays), this has the potential to be a fun matchup.
As a unit, the Lakers are struggling from the line this year (72 percent), so if the Wolves can get the calls they need and capitalize on them like they did during the last meeting between these two teams, they just might be able to snap this three-game losing skid.
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: (Generally Curious)
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
Injuries: Jeff Teague (knee), Justin Patton (foot)
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Our pals over at Silver Screen & Roll have Lakers coverage for you.