The Lakers got off to a hot start and Anthony Davis had 38 points in his return to the court, but it wasn’t enough, as the Lakers lost, 110-102, against the Minnesota Timberwolves to start their five-game homestand on a sour note.
The offense stalled in the second and third quarters, mustering just 42 points during that stretch. Only three players were in double figures Anthony Davis, Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker IV.
Things looked so good at the beginning.
The Lakers' offense was humming as they scored 34 points and shot a perfect 3-3 from three, but the shooting and offense cooled down in the second as L.A. went 3-15 from deep for the rest of the first half.
The Timberwolves went on a run during the middle of the quarter and a back-and-forth game turned into a 9-point lead for Minnesota. But L.A. kept fighting even with AD on the bench due to foul trouble, as Malik Beasley hit a couple of corner threes and — after Austin Reaves hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds of the half — the Lakers trailed by just a point at the break.
LAL trail 56-55 at the half, but hung in very well after Anthony Davis picked up his 3rd PF and sat at the 4:36 mark.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 4, 2023
LAL trailed by 7 at that time, but trimmed 6 off the lead despite AD being on the bench.
To start the third quarter, L.A. struggled to get going offensively while Minnesota went on a 6-0 run. The T-Wolves created some distance between themselves and Los Angeles, but when Rudy Gobert grabbed his fourth foul and AD was able to finally able to get going offensively after a slow second quarter. With Rudy no longer protecting the rim, Davis was getting to the basket and drawing fouls, and Dennis wasn’t getting his runners blocked anymore either. Still, L.A. struggled to close the gap and found themselves trailing by seven entering the final 12 minutes.
To start the final quarter, the Lakers' offense continued to be stuck in neutral. They fell behind by as many as 14 before suddenly they showed signs of life. Anthony Davis hit a three so deep I thought it was 2020 again, and another Beasley corner three and the deficit was down to seven. Another Davis three and the Lakers were very much back in it, down just four with approximately two minutes left in the game.
With 1:12 left Mike Conley hit a huge three to give Minnesota some breathing room and the T-Wolves never looked back, taking both the game and a 2-0 advantage in the season series.
Anthony Davis did everything he could to win. He had 38 points, 5 rebounds and even hustled with only one shoe on in crutch time to try and help get the win. However, it’s one step forward, one step back for the purple and gold as they continue to march in mediocrity to the last full month of basketball in the regular season. With the Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers losing, a win today would’ve helped them jump up the standings. Instead, they fumbled that opportunity away.
But with just 19 games left, there’s no time to sulk or mourn the progress that wasn’t made, it’s on to the next one and hopefully, D’Angelo Russell is ready to make his return on Sunday against the Warriors. They’ll need all the help they can get as Steph Curry is expected to make his return that night as well.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.