Nash returns, but Lakers fall to T-Wolves
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Love scored 31 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves ran out to a big lead before beating the injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers, 109-99, at Target Center.
Kevin Martin tied a season-high with 32 points for the Timberwolves, who snapped a two-game skid and beat the Lakers for just the third time in the last 29 matchups.
"It was a good win to get," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said. "They came at us in the second half, we did the things we had to do to get the win."
The Lakers, despite getting back two key players Tuesday night, lost their seventh straight game. It's the first seven-game skid for the team since March 2-15, 2007 when they also lost seven in a row.
Guard Steve Nash and Steve Blake both returned to the lineup, and both players started. Nash played 24 minutes and had seven points and nine assists, and Blake was held scoreless in 32 minutes of action, but had six helpers and five boards.
The game was Nash's first since he exited a home matchup with the Timberwolves on Nov. 10 due to pain in his lower back. Blake had been sidelined since mid- December with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Blake ruptured his right eardrum in Tuesday's game, but played through the pain.
The problems were compounded for the Lakers when power forward Jordan Hill suffered a cervical strain and a headache in the final minute of the first quarter when he was accidentally hit in the face by teammate Chris Kaman near the basket. Guard Jodie Meeks also sprained his right ankle in the game's first two minutes, coming down on the foot of Minnesota's Corey Brewer. Meeks was helped to the locker room.
Prior to the game, the Lakers announced center Pau Gasol will be held out of the team's six remaining games prior to the All-Star break as he recovers from a groin strain.
Kobe Bryant (knee) didn't travel with the Lakers on this three-game road trip, which switches to Cleveland and then Philadelphia. Jordan Farmar, who hasn't played since Dec. 31 due to a left hamstring tear, may return for the Cavs game Wednesday.
Nick Young scored 24 and Manny Harris had a season-best 19 points for the Lakers, who never led.
Martin and Love combined for 25 of Minnesota's 38 first-quarter points. Minnesota's lead stood at 38-26 after 12 minutes.
The Timberwolves were up as many as 25 midway through the second quarter before settling for a 68-52 cushion at the break.
"We did not compete in the first half," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The second half we played much better. We're not good enough to spot them a half."
LA wasn't able to get closer than seven in the second half. The visitors trailed 89-78 moving to the fourth.
Love collapsed to the floor with 4:10 left in the game when he drove to the hoop before being fouled by Robert Sacre. Love's rear hit the deck hard and he grabbed his tailbone in obvious pain. After a timeout, Love was back on the floor and made both his free throw attempts.
The Lakers haven't lost eight straight since March 14-27, 2005 ... The Lakers have allowed at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games ... Sacre had 14 points, one less than Wesley Johnson ... Brewer and J.J. Barea each scored 11 ... D'Antoni said Nash would not play Wednesday and Meeks is not expected to play the remainder of the road trip.
02/05 00:04:35 ET