The blowout loss only came after first half where the Lakers more than held their own, leading by as many as 11 points in the first quarter and 49-44 at the halftime intermission. The Timberwolves, though, turned it entirely around with a stunning third quarter in which they outscored the hosts 40-12.
The lead grew as large as 33 in the second half with the fourth quarter nearly entirely being garbage time between the two sides. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook were the lone Lakers in double figures with 22 and 20 points, respectively.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points to lead all scorers while D’Angelo Russell had 22 in a return to the Staples Center.
Despite a lineup change that moved Davis to center and Wayne Ellington into the starting lineup, the Lakers started out slow on the night, requiring an early timeout after trailing 11-4 Timberwolves lead. The response from the Lakers, though, was strong and swift as they went on a 22-4 run to build up an 11-point lead late in the first quarter.
Minnesota slowly got back into the game on the back of Naz Reid and Russell in the second quarter as they recaptured the lead at 30-28 after a Jaden McDaniels 3-pointer. From there, the two sides swapped the lead through the middle stages of the second period before a 3-point play from Anthony Davis and a 3-pointer from Wayne Ellington allowed the Lakers to open up a six-point lead, a cushion they would carry almost all the way to the break as they lead 49-44 heading into the locker room.
Russell again fueled a run to open the second half for Minnesota, rushing out with a 10-2 run to force a quick timeout from the hosts. The lead grew to 58-51 after a 3-point play by Patrick Beverley before another 3-point play opportunity on the ensuing possession from Beverley. In total, the Timberwolves pieced together a 13-0 run to lead 60-51.
The run only continued as the Lakers could not buy a basket, the Timberwolves opening up a 66-52 lead with a 20-1 run. By the time the Lakers ended their drought of over seven minutes between field goals in the third quarter, Minnesota had built up a 73-56 lead on the back of a 30-4 run. But that did little to stem the tide as the Lakers trailed 84-61 by the end of the frame.
Any hope of a fourth-quarter comeback was immediately dashed as the Timberwolves scored the first three baskets of the frame as the lead ballooned to 30 points. Russell continued the embarrassment with back-to-back 3-pointers to cancel out a Westbrook long-range effort as part of his impressive night.
The Lakers will be back in action on Sunday against the Spurs in a matinee game at 12:30 p.m. PDT.