NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 29th (All times eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (18-17) at Los Angeles Lakers (20-14), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant made history in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, FL, but it came with a price: A nasal fracture and subsequent concussion to the five-time champion.
The 14-time All-Star and four-time All-Star Game MVP was examined by ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Rehm on Tuesday and also visited neurologist Dr. Vern Williams, who confirmed the concussion. Dr. Williams is expected to see Bryant again on Wednesday and the status of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar for tonight's game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves is day-to-day.
Bryant, who missed practice on Tuesday, was fouled hard by Miami's Dwyane Wade during a 152-149 victory for the Western Conference. Wade apologized to Bryant for the foul during the Heat's practice this week. Bryant passed Hall of Famer and six-time champion Michael Jordan for the most points (271) scored in an All-Star Game and also tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy and Jordan for the most All-Star starts in NBA history with 13. The NBA's leading scorer at 28.4 points per game, Bryant has played this season despite a torn ligament in his wrist.
With the possibility of not having their floor leader tonight, the Lakers will try to make do with what they have left on the roster in All-Star center Andrew Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol, the subject of many trade rumors lately. The Lakers will open a three-game homestand Wednesday versus the Timberwolves, Kings and Heat, and are 14-2 as the host. Los Angeles has won five in a row at home and had won five of six games before entering the break with a 100-85 loss at Oklahoma City last Thursday.
Bryant had 24 points in that one, while Gasol finished with 22 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who are one game behind the rival Clippers for first place in the Pacific Division. Bynum added 14 points and 12 boards in defeat.
"I thought our movement was there a little, but in the second half we just looked tired at times," Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. "I don't know if we are or not, but we can't play tired or you can't play stagnant against this basketball team because they have so many athletes in every position."
Since they had trouble stopping Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers will have to deal with Timberwolves All-Star forward and Three-point Shootout champion Kevin Love. Love, though, suffered injured ribs in last night's 109-97 win over the Clippers in the first of three games in as many nights.
Love scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in less than 26 minutes of action, and took a shot to the ribs during the third quarter. He returned to the bench with about five minutes remaining in the game wearing a padded shirt and said afterwards "everything seems to be fine." Love underwent X-rays and is hoping to be able to play tonight.
"DeAndre Jordan hit me twice on the same play and in the same spot, but I just got it X-rayed and everything seems to be fine," Love said on the team's website. "It's going to have a lot of bruising and some inflammation, but hopefully I'll be good to go for tomorrow."
Wolves reserves Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley both scored 27 points for the Timberwolves, winners in two straight and five of six games. Minnesota's bench outscored the Clippers' reserves by a lopsided 72-11 margin.
"We took what they gave us," said Beasley. "Coming off the bench is different, but it's not about the bench, it's a team win."
The Timberwolves will also play Phoenix Thursday in the desert and Portland on Saturday in the finale of a four-game road trip. They are in the midst of playing 11 of 15 games away from the Twin Cities.
Minnesota dropped a 106-101 decision to the Lakers back on Jan. 29 this season at Target Center and has lost 16 straight and 19 of the past 20 encounters with Los Angeles. The Wolves haven't prevailed against the Lakers since a 117-107 double-overtime triumph on March 6, 2007 in Minneapolis. Bryant had 35 points and 14 boards in the first meeting, while Love tallied 33 points and 13 rebounds.
The Wolves are winless in 10 straight games as the guest in this series.
02/29 10:50:49 ET