NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 1st (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (20-26) at Minnesota Timberwolves (17-25), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers saw a three-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, but will try to get back on track Friday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team the Lakers have owned in recent history.
The Lakers have won 19 in a row against the Timberwolves and 10 of their last 11 in Minnesota. L.A. is unbeaten in nine straight at Minnesota and last lost in the Twin Cities on Mar. 6, 2007.
The Lakers started a six-game road swing with a 92-86 setback in Phoenix to the Suns. They held a 10-point lead to start the final quarter, but watched the Suns wins the final frame, 29-13.
"We just didn't score. We only had 13 points in the quarter," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "I thought we had some open shots and we didn't knock them down. We missed some foul shots, we had like six or seven turnovers in the fourth quarter."
Wednesday marked the return to Phoenix for two-time MVP Steve Nash, who spent the previous seven seasons on the Suns. Nash had 11 points and two assists in the loss.
Kobe Bryant just missed out on his fourth straight game with 10-or-more assists. He had nine helpers and 17 points. During the three-game winning streak, Bryant only averaged 16.3 ppg, but dished out 13 apg.
Despite the setback to the Suns, Bryant wasn't too dismayed after the loss.
"This is not like it was earlier in the year, this is a little different," Bryant said. "We're playing well. I mean, they got back in the game, they made some good shots and they ended up winning the game tonight, but I'm not too concerned about it."
The Timberwolves are struggling badly with five straight losses coming into Friday's game.
Head coach Rick Adelman returned to the bench for the first time in three weeks Wednesday after being away to tend to his sick wife. He couldn't help them topple the Los Angeles Clippers, who won 96-90 without All-Star guard Chris Paul.
The Wolves won the turnover battle, but were outrebounded, 45-38.
"We are not as big as they are," Adelman said. "We had (Dante Cunningham) on (DeAndre) Jordan and he just jumped over him. We talked at halftime that if you know a guy is that long, you are not going to win the jumping contest, you are going to lose that battle."
The Timberwolves have battled more injuries than most teams. Kevin Love, Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy are still out, but Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved both returned against the Clippers. Pekovic had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Shved netted 12 points.
02/01 10:39:13 ET