For the first time in a long time, things seemed to be looking up for the Lakers. The Lakers got Steve Blake and Steve Nash back against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
Lord knows what anyone can expect from the nonagenarian Nash, but before Blake was sidelined with a torn ligament in his right (shooting) elbow he was playing his best ball of the season. That, in turn, meant the Lakers were playing their best ball of the season.
So there was promise, right?
But here is the motif that is the Lakers season which kicked in. Just less than 90 seconds into the game, Jodie Meeks sprained his right ankle landing on Corey Brewer. That’s 14.7 points and 40.6 percent three-point shooting gone for the immediate future. Jordan Hill later in the quarter left the game with a severe headache after getting Chris Kaman’s elbow to his head.
And just for shits and giggles Blake suffered a ruptured eardrum in the first half, but he managed to play the rest of the game.
That’s the nightmare of the 2013-14 Lakers season.
Of course that’s detracting from the fact the Lakers are AWFUL on defense. My barely ambulatory grandmother could probably defend better than this lot we call the Lakers. They gave up 68 points to the T’Wolves in the first half. Even though they are the best first half scoring team in the NBA, they average only 54.6.
But then the most amazing thing happened. The Lakers played what looked like defense in the third quarter! The third quarter has been the bugaboo for the Lakers all season long. They average 23.2 points in the quarter, sixth worst in the league. Their point differential is -3.4 in the quarter, only better than the Philadelphia 76ers.
This Laker team actually won the third quarter 26-21! What was an 18-point deficit at the half was an 11-point deficit by the end of the quarter.
So despite the Timberwolves’ mediocrity, the Lakers showed that they still stink. They couldn’t take advantage of some bad Ricky Rubio passes, Kevin Love airballs and missed dunks by Corey Brewer. The Lakers lost 109-99 giving them a 16-32 record. They are now tied with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings for the worst record in the Western Conference.
The Timberwolves are now 24-24. In other words, Kevin Love to the Lakers next season?
Some notable stats:
Nick Young: 24 points off the bench.
Chris Kaman and Ryan Kelly: -11 rating.
Manny Harris: 19 points in 20 minutes.
Wesley Johnson: 15 points.
Ricky Rubio: 4 points, 13 assists.
Kevin Love: 31 points, 17 rebounds.
Kevin Martin: 32 points, 4-for-6 from three-point land.