The Los Angeles Lakers will have a chance to even their season series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. However, in order to do that, they’ll have to show a better effort on the boards this time out. Luckily, they’ll have a few more able bodied men on the bench on Wednesday, with head coach Luke Walton confirming that Chandler will suit up against the Wolves.
When the Lakers visited the Timberwolves on Oct. 29, Michael Beasley wasn’t with the team for personal reasons. Beasley returned to practice on Tuesday and will be available for Wednesday’s game. While Beasley hasn’t exactly been a game-changer in his limited time on the floor this season, he’ll provide some much-needed depth in the front court, particularly at the power forward position.
The game will also be a perfect test for how valuable Chandler, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum on Tuesday, can be.
The Lakers brought in Chandler to help with their abysmal interior defense, which was a huge problem in their 124-120 loss to the Timberwolves last week. It wasn’t just that they were allowing points at the rim, they also gave up 16 second chance points to Minnesota.
LeBron James voiced his frustrations with his team’s effort on the glass following that game (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“We gave up 20 offensive rebounds. We knew coming into the game they were a very good offensive rebounding team. We stressed that. We understood that, and we still allowed them to get second-chance points. You can’t do that on the road.”
Granted, Minnesota has a pair of talented rebounders on their roster in Taj Gibson, who is top-five offensive rebounder at his position, and Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 10.3 rebounds per game. Still, the Lakers have struggled to box out against everybody, not just the Timberwolves. In fact, the Lakers are second-to-last in the league in box outs, only trailing the Houston Rockets.
If Chandler wants to make any impact on the game on Wednesday, he can start by doing the dirty work on the glass. Anything he does offensively is gravy.
On the other end of the floor, the Lakers need to get the ball moving on the perimeter. Feeding the ball inside to JaVale McGee in the post is always a bad idea, but it’s an especially bad idea against the Timberwolves.
They’ll need more production from their guards than they got last time, which shouldn’t be hard considering how low the bar was set. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart combined for 9 points on 4-14 shooting from the field in the Lakers’ last meeting with the Wolves. Rajon Rondo led all guards with 13 points and 8 assists, but memorably declined to shoot with the game on the line.
The Lakers are capable of winning this game comfortably, but they’ll have to stay disciplined for a full 48 minutes on both ends of the floor. They haven’t been able to do so yet, but coming off of a two-day break and a blowout loss at home, there’s no reason they shouldn’t come out energized and hungry for a win.