When it was announced that the Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t going to have D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns for Sunday night’s contest, there was hope that the Los Angeles Lakers would have an easy start to the new year. While they got the win they were looking for, it was far from a cakewalk.
As has been the case on most nights this season, the Lakers struggled to match the intensity that the young and scrappy Timberwolves played with from the moment the ball tipped off, and the area of the box score that reflects that the most is the rebounding category. The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Lakers 55-27, including 19-4 on offensive rebounds.
Sunday night surely won’t be the only night the Lakers lose the rebounding battle, as they seem fully committed to playing small, but hopefully it’s not regularly by a margin of 28, or a result of poor effort, both of which were true against the Timberwolves. You also have to think the Lakers find a way to integrate a traditional center into the lineup to prevent that from happening, however, it’s unlikely the solution is on the current roster, as Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan were both DNPs on Sunday.
To no one’s surprise, LeBron James led the way for the Lakers once again, but Malik Monk turned in another successful shift with the starters, ending the night with 22 points on 8-14 shooting from the field. Avery Bradley and Carmelo Anthony were also huge down the stretch, which is the opposite of whatever Russell Westbrook was.
The Lakers (19-19) will host the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles on Tuesday.