As much as the Minnesota Timberwolves looked impressive in their 113-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, including a triple double from Ricky Rubio as he finds his form once again after a short rough patch, it also had to do with their rivals simply being one of the worst teams in the NBA.
For the Timberwolves, it wasn’t just a simple win. For the first time after 22 games, they have a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. It took a Kobe Bryant injury and Steve Nash leaving the game with a bad back as well to finally end the streak, but at least it happened in impressive style.
The Timberwolves scored 47 first quarter points, the most in the first 12 minutes since March 16, 2008, when the Nuggets scored 48 against the SuperSonics. At one point Minnesota went on a 27-2 run to open a 28 point-lead, and the game was pretty much over.
Kevin Love (25 points, 13 rebounds), just took jumper after jumper without anyone bothering him. Kevin Martin hasn’t been this open in ages, leading the team with 27 points and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Martin is shooting 57.1% from beyond the arc, and any fear of him trying to take over and hog the ball away from Ricky Rubio has been unsubstantiated so far.
Ricky Rubio himself, coming off a series of very weak games, pulled off his second career triple double. He scored 12 points and even knocked down two three pointers, adding 10 rebounds, 14 assists and 5 steals, becoming just the second player in franchise history with at least five steals during a triple-double game.
The Lakers? They shot only 38% from the field, looking more desperate than ever. Steve Nash played only 13 minutes, although they’re usually worst with him on the court, leaving the game with back pain which might mean more than just a couple of games away from the team.
Steve Blake scored 19 meaningless points on a hot night from beyond the arc (5-of-7), and that was about it for “meaningful contributions”. Pau Gasol had an 11-11 double double; Jodie Meeks scored 16 points off the bench, but comparing these Lakers even to the team we saw last year is impossible, as they sink to 3-5, losing their second game at home this season.
It was the first time the Timberwolves beat the Lakers since 2007 and the first time since 2005 that they’ve beaten them in Los Angeles. In short – their first win against them without Kevin Garnett since the former MVP left town to Boston.
We had lost so many straight to the Lakers that we thought we were due for one. We knew, the guys that had played here. We had talked about it, that we hadn’t had much success, but we weren’t thinking about anything numbers-wise. We just wanted to come out and think about this year. Everybody was making shots. We knew we’d lost the last 22 or something like that. It was a good game for us to end it.
The way the Lakers are looking this season and the Timberwolves in line to meet with them three more times, this win probably wasn’t a one time thing.