Although forward Anthony Davis was sidelined with a right calf contusion, the Los Angeles Lakers ousted the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-91. The game flaunted the depth and speed of the Reigning NBA champions as Los Angeles scored 20 fast -break points.
Forward Kyle Kuzma led all scorers with 20 points and LeBron James grabbed nine rebounds. Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards scored 15 points, forwards Jarred Vanderbilt, and Ed Davis made seven rebounds each.
All except one player on the Lakers roster scored during the matchup. The Lakers had a total of 14 blocks, 46 rebounds, and 32 assists.
“I really liked their ball movement, I thought [Kuzma] set a great tone for us at the beginning of the game,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “We’re really trying to grow his movement, catch and shoot game.”
All-star forward LeBron James injured his ankle and guard Alex Caruso damaged some muscles in his hand during the contest. It is unclear if they will compete against the Portland Trailblazers on Monday.
Accurate shooting from the Lakers gave them an 18-6 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Kuzma led the way with nine points. Buckets from Guard Dennis Schroder and center Montrezl Harrell pushed the Lakers up to a 20-point lead. Minnesota was 0-10 from the three-point line and trailed 23-40 going into the second quarter.
“There’s a reason why they’re world champs,” said Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders. “They had a sense of urgency from the start.”
The Lakers maintained their accurate scoring, shooting at as much as 67.5 percent from the field. Forward Markieff Morris hit a layup to give the Lakers 50 points and they went on an offensive freeze for two minutes. This allowed Minnesota to go on an eight-point run.
The Lakers found their shot, even after the Timberwolves intensified their paint protection. Guard Josh Okogie had to be carried off the court after taking a fall. He was ruled out of the game due to cramping.
Throughout the first half, center Marc Gasol fed the ball to Kuzma several times. Gasol likes the way Kuzma cuts while Kuzma reveres how Gasol makes passes.
“Anytime I’m with him, I just try to play whether that’s two-man games, Boston cuts, any type of movement,” Kuzma said. “I know he’s gonna find me.”
Minnesota ran into foul trouble early in the third quarter, center Naz Reid and guard D’Angelo Russell earned their fourth foul. Los Angeles made the extra pass to score with James, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Gasol making assists. Guard Wesley Matthews hit a jumper to put the Lakers ahead of Minnesota by 30 points.
Harrell scored four points to begin the fourth quarter. Guard Quinn Cook, forward Jared Dudley, forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, and forward Alfonzo McKinnie saw playing time. James finished the night with 18 points and nine rebounds. Harrell, Gasol, and guard Talen Horton-Tucker all scored 12 points each.
“No one should ever feel pressured to go and do too much,” James said. “We want to move the ball, we shouldn’t take many bad shots if any at all.”
The Lakers will battle the Portland Trailblazers at Staples Center on Monday, December 28 at 7:00P.M.