The Los Angeles Lakers ended 2017 with a loss, then turned around and opened 2018 with another in a 114-96 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers looked every bit the part of a team coming off a double-overtime loss in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Lakers’ starting lineup got off to an ice-cold start in the negative weather of Minnesota. All five starters went scoreless in the first quarter, allowing an atrocious 16-0 run. The purple and gold didn’t get on the board until just over four minutes, 2018 getting off to as poor a start as possible.
Dry spells were the name of the game for the Lakers. A 13-0 run in the Timberwolves favor down the stretch of the third quarter seemed to be the breaking point after the Lakers had drawn even through most of the game after their horrible start. What air they had left blowing in their sails went stagnant.
Jordan Clarkson did his best to spark some offense with the starters struggling, scoring a team-high 20 points off the bench. Jimmy Butler was locked in, knocking down a handful of lead-extending buckets in the fourth quarter to make sure the Lakers stayed out of striking range. He finished the night with game-high 28 points.
The Lakers get to head back home to Los Angeles to enjoy a five-game homestand, though they’ll be playing every-other-day from now until Jan. 23. They’ll (hopefully) have Lonzo Ball back in the rotation sooner-rather-than later after giving him a full week away to nurse his left shoulder sprain, with an updated expected out of El Segundo sometime Tuesday.
Here’s to a better 2018 than where the year began in Minnesota.