In terms of defense, well, there was not a lot of it from either side.
For the most part, the Wolves were able to get good looks all night long. The offense was not the problem, with eight players scoring in double figures. The Wolves shot the ball really, really well. Every player who was in double figures did so on nearly 50% shooting or better.
The problem came on the other side of the ball, and in a big way.
Karl-Anthony Towns is a great player, but it was made clear tonight that he still has a ways to go to enter the LeBron James/Anthony Davis realm of the NBA hierarchy. Holy smokes, did those two just destroy the Wolves tonight.
Let’s start with AD. Davis exited the game tonight with 50 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. He was 20 for 29 from the floor, and he made it look as easy as the stat line would suggest. It really didn’t matter who the Wolves put on Davis, they were going to get cooked. This was NOT a good defensive game from KAT, to say the least.
Where the Wolves really struggled with AD was in transition, and in the secondary break. Minnesota refused to pick him up early, and it led to him catching on the move and getting downhill time and time again. AD is nuts, and he was feeling it tonight, but Minnesota could have done more to make it at least a bit more difficult for him.
Then there was LeBron James. This was a quintessential LeBron game that, while frustrating for the Wolves, really made you sit back and realize just how freaking good he is. If you watched the game tonight, it really looked like LeBron wasn’t even trying. I’d be surprised if he even broke a sweat. Yet, he finished with 32 points and 13 assists on 12-20 from the field (6-8 from three). Ho-hum.
In year 17, James is just in complete control at all times. Any time the Lakers ran a PnR with LeBron, it was an automatic bucket, whether it was for himself or a teammate. The league leader in assists per game was playing chess while the Wolves were playing checkers tonight. Milwaukee is damn good, so are the Clippers, but with this version of LeBron, the Lakers have to be the title favorites.
He’s just so, so good at getting guys the ball in exactly the right spots. He found AD several times, but he also found Dwight Howard for a few lobs and Danny Green coming around screens for open threes. He was a machine.
Outside of the horrid defense, it’s hard to take a whole lot from this one. Yeah, the Wolves hummed on offense, and were mostly able to stay in the game, which is nice. It felt like they were staying in the game moreso because of the Lakers’ general disinterest than anything else, though.
Jarrett Culver and Keita Bates-Diop flashed some strong play againt tonight, which is always good. It’s hard to know how much of that was to do with the Lakers being on cruise control or if it was legit, but it’s good to see nonetheless.
I don’t mean to talk down on the Wolves and diminish the positive things we saw from them tonight, but it just cannot be emphasized enough how effortless everything looked for LA. That’s on Minnesota for not taking advantage of what appeared to be a pretty nonchalant effort from the Lakers.
Everything looked way, way too easy from LeBron and Anthony Davis, and that’s ultimately what downed the Wolves tonight. That is what was discouraging, although, to be fair there aren’t many teams that can really do much to contain that duo. They’re now 21-3 for a reason.
This loss makes four in a row for the Wolves, but they have another chance to right the ship tomorrow night in Phoenix, but if they give up 140+ points again the result will be the same.