NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 4th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (16-31) at Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers hope to start the month of February on a good note when they open a three-game road trip Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.
The Lakers will also visit Cleveland and Philadelphia, have lost four in a row on the road and are 8-18 as the guest this season. They are 3-12 on the road against Western Conference opponents.
Los Angeles is mired in a six-game slide overall and dropped a 110-100 decision to the Charlotte Bobcats the last time out on Friday, when Pau Gasol finished with 24 points and nine rebounds. Nick Young added 21 off the bench and Jodie Meeks scored 19 points for the Lakers, who are only 3-18 in the last 21 games and shot 38.7 percent from the floor.
"They just weren't ready to play for whatever reason," said Los Angeles head coach Mike D'Antoni. "Whether it's the end of January, who knows, but it's inexcusable."
As has been the case almost all season, injuries are the main story for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant (knee) won't travel with the team on this trip and it was announced Gasol (groin) would also stay in LA for rehab.
However, there is some good news as all three injured point guards, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar, appear ready to return to the lineup, maybe even on Tuesday.
"They're all good," D'Antoni said. "I think they're all ready to go. There's a possibility all three could play (at Minnesota)."
Lakers center Chris Kaman is probable Tuesday because of a sore knee and he has missed the previous seven games. He might get the starting call with Gasol shelved, although Kaman has basically fallen out of the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have dropped two in a row and three of five games, including Saturday's 120-113 setback at Atlanta.
Kevin Love pumped in 43 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, while Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea added 17 and 12 points, respectively, for the Timberwolves, who finished shooting 44 percent from the field. Barea was ejected with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul.
"I didn't even know I had it (43 points) until I think Martin told me after the game. I was just trying to get us back in the game by any means," Love said. "Teammates set me up with a lot of good shots. A loss, especially right now, is tough."
Love has posted three straight double-doubles and nine in the last 10 games, posting an average of 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds in that time.
Minnesota has dropped 11 straight in Atlanta and will visit Oklahoma City and New Orleans after hosting the Lakers. The T'Wolves, who are 13-9 in the Twin Cities, have split two meetings with Los Angeles this season and will host the Lakers on March 28.
The Lakers have won 26 of the last 28 matchups with Minnesota and are unbeaten in 11 straight and 12 of 13 contests at the Target Center.
02/04 10:28:08 ET