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Lakers vs. Timberwolves Final Score: Young Lakers bullied by veteran-led Timberwolves in 119-111 loss

Lakers head into the All-Star break with another one in the loss column.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The young Los Angeles Lakers were no match for the veteran-led Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter, losing 119-111 in Minnesota on Thursday. The Lakers have now lost their last three games after winning their previous four.

The Lakers hung around up until the very end, but Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson came up big for the Timberwolves late. Gibson led the Wolves with a career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field and Butler was his usual self, contributing 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks, all while locking up players in crunch time. Even Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford, who have struggled in their first year with the Wolves, played meaningful minutes, combining for 35 points and nine assists.

Their young players, however, took the night off, namely Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, who together contributed a measly 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the field. Towns was still a huge factor on the boards though, grabbing 19 rebounds, including 16 defensive rebounds.

With a win tonight, the Wolves are only a game back of the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, currently occupied by the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite losing, the Lakers played with more effort on both ends than they have in the last two games, at least for the most part.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was Ivica Zubac. After struggling in Summer League and spot minutes throughout the season, Zubac exploded for 19 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field. Zubac also added 11 rebounds.

The Lakers, in their quest for superstar talent this summer, will try and shed salary where they can, but if Zubac finishes the season strong, like he did last season, the Lakers will likely hang on to him for the remainder of his contract. That wasn’t anything that could be said with any amount of certainty at the start of the season.

Julius Randle also had himself a nice bounce back game after showing disappointing effort in his past two games. Randle led the Lakers with 23 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block. It’s unclear how the Lakers’ starting five will look when Lonzo Ball returns, but if there’s one certainty, it’s Randle.

The Lakers will head into the All-Star break 11 games under .500. While playoffs are looking like less of a possibility, their schedule coming back from the break should be kind to them.

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