The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-101 and received only their second road win of the season, but although the Lakers departed from Minnesota’s Target Center as the victors, the contest just about ended in utter disaster.
Los Angeles played exceptionally well for the majority of the game, punctuated by opening up a seemingly insurmountable 18 point lead midway through the 3rd quarter thanks to three clutch three pointers by Kobe Bryant, who surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the Lakers franchise leader in field goals in the game.
In addition, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who have both been ineffective lately, seemed to flip the switch tonight as Gasol most likely played his best game of the season and Bynum returned to the form he showcased earlier in the season which, as a result, has him close to earning his first All-Star Game berth. Another bright spot came in the form of rookie Andrew Goudelock, who scored seven points and one assist in 15 minutes of play.
However, towards the end of the third quarter, Minnesota began a furious comeback and tied the game with roughly six minutes left in the game and appeared as if Los Angeles’ inconsistent defense would doom the team on yet another occasion, as it did with the defeat at the hands of an Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson-less Milwaukee Bucks team yesterday. Fortunately for the Lakers, Bryant stepped up in the clutch as he closed the door on the Timberwolves comeback hopes.
Despite the victory, is first-year Laker head coach Mike Brown on the hot seat? Brown came to Los Angeles largely on his reputation as one of the better defensive coaches in the NBA, however since he has arrived the Lakers’ defensive efficiency has fallen off dramatically and Los Angeles is in the bottom ten in the Association in terms of points per game, averaging a paltry 92.4 points per contest.
The Lakers inconsistency record-wise compounds these aforementioned issues and although Brown will most likely not be fired this season, Los Angeles has to begin playing consistently, or they could miss the playoffs and head coach Mike Brown could be headed out the door at the conclusion of his first season at the helm of one of the most storied franchises in the NBA, which up to this point, has been somewhat of a disappointment.