Things were starting to turn around for the Lakers, having won seven of 10 after starting the season 0-2. More importantly, after back-to-back overtime wins over the Hornets and Heat, they had improved to 3-3 for the season without LeBron James.
Those last two wins were a testament to their depth and competitive spirit. However, their play on Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves especially in the third quarter showcased neither.
The final score of 107-83, which helped the Timberwolves snap their six-game losing streak, was decided more or less in one period – the third quarter.
In the third quarter, the Lakers were outscored 40-12. They shot 4-of-21 (19.0%) from the field and 1-of-13 (7.7%) from beyond the arc while committing six turnovers, on the other hand, they allowed the Timberwolves to shoot 15-of-24 (62.5%) from the field and 7-of-13 (53.8%) from 3-point range.
Anthony Davis, who had six of the team’s 12 third-quarter points, was mad after the blowout loss and didn’t hold back postgame.
“We got to decide who we want to be. A championship team? That’s not us right now … That’s embarrassing … No effort in the third quarter”
“We sucked. No defense. Can’t score … Why? I can’t tell you”
In 30 minutes, Davis stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, eight rebounds, three steals, three blocks and two assists. He was one of only two double-digit scorers for the Lakers, the other being Russell Westbrook, who didn’t have much to celebrate on his 33rd birthday.
Westbrook scored 20 points but recorded a game-high plus-minus of -32 in his 31 minutes.
Battle of the point guards:
D’Angelo Russell was +36 tonight, the highest mark of his career.
Russell Westbrook was -32, the lowest on the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/QAZeWHatSq
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 13, 2021
This is the Lakers’ sixth loss through 13 games and nearly every one of them has been in dramatic fashion. In their two losses to the Thunder they gave up 26 and 19-point leads, and against Portland and in this one against Minnesota, they got blown out with their opponents holding maximum leads of 34 and 33 respectively.
Having said that, it’s important to note the number and talent level of players that the Lakers are missing – LeBron James (seven games, last five), Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker. Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo have missed a few.
But then again, as Davis mentions postgame, they do have enough talent to win the games that they have lost. They have another two games at home before they head out for a five-game Eastern Conference road trip.
How will things pan out? Only time will tell but one thing is for sure these Lakers, considered among the title favourites, are must-see TV. So, stay tuned for the latest.