NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 16 (All times eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (22-22) at Los Angeles Lakers (27-16), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Los Angeles Lakers could match their longest winning streak of the season tonight when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves, but general manager Mitch Kupchak was still trying to improve the team at the trade deadline.
The Pacific Division-leading Lakers, who will also shoot for their 19th straight win over the Wolves on Friday, made a pair of deals at the deadline in an effort to improve the point guard position and add athleticism to an aging roster.
LA got its new quarterback from Cleveland, acquiring Ramon Sessions along with young forward Christian Eyenga from the Cavaliers in exchange for forwards Luke Walton and Jason Kapono as well as a lottery-protected 2012 first round pick and other considerations.
The Lakers then turned around and sent veteran Derek Fisher and a first round pick to Houston for forward/center Jordan Hill.
Fisher, of course, was part of five NBA championship teams with the Lakers but his game has decline greatly.
"It's hard to put into words what (Fisher has) meant to this organization, on the court and off the court," Kupchak said. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job that a general manager has. We think Ramon will make an immediate impact."
It's unclear if Sessions will join the Lakers in time for tonight' game as the team shoots for its fifth straight win.
Most recently, Kobe Bryant dropped in 33 points as the Lakers rallied in the second half to down the New Orleans Hornets in overtime, 107-101, on Wednesday.
Andrew Bynum added 25 points and 18 rebounds, while Pau Gasol finished with 18 points and 10 boards for Los Angeles, which was coming off a 116-111 double- overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Minnesota, meanwhile, was unable to get a deal done at the deadline and is two games behind Houston and Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after Thursday's 111-105 overtime loss in Utah.
Kevin Love had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while Nikola Pekovic added 20 points and nine boards in defeat. Luke Ridnour had 18 points and 13 assists, while J.J. Barea donated 11 points in the loss for Minnesota, which has dropped three of its last four.
"We had a chance. We got lucky there at the end," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman said. "I think twice we had chances with a two-point lead to get the ball and we gave up offensive rebounds both times. That was the story all night long."
Bryant scored 34 points for the Lakers in a 105-102 road win over Minnesota last Friday, Los Angeles' 18th straight over the Timberwolves -- the longest active streak in the NBA by one team over another.
To make matters worse for the Wolves, that's the game that the team lost promising rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL.
03/16 11:04:02 ET