Lakers Defeat Minnesota Despite Bryant's Fractured Finger

December 12, 2009

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their impressive play by capturing their 11th straight win and defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-92 at the Staples Center on Friday night.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant's 20 points and 5 assists, many of which came after he had sustained an avulsion fracture to his right index finger during the first quarter.

Pau Gasol also contributed 17 points, 7 assists, and a career-high 20 rebounds for Los Angeles, while Ron Artest chipped in with 16 points and 5 assists of his own.

The Lakers got off to a strong start in the first quarter by pounding the ball inside and exploiting their size advantage over Minnesota. That approach allowed bigs Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to combine for 18 points on a variety of hooks, post moves, and follow shots. Altogether, Los Angeles produced 22 points in the paint during the opening quarter to take a 33-24 lead.

Things began to change however, after Bryant hurt his hand reaching for a pass in the final minutes of the quarter.

Bryant gamely tried to play through the injury, but was limited to using his left hand almost exclusively. As a result, he was taken out of the game for the remainder of the half, and Minnesota was able to steal some of the momentum.

With Bryant out of the game, the Wolves went on a 20-7 run in the second quarter to take a 44-42 lead. Reserve guard Ramon Sessions was a vital part of that rally, as he nailed several open jumpers. Sessions would end the quarter with 12 points on 6-6 shooting from the field.

Nevertheless, Lakers Ron Artest and Shannon Brown answered the Minnesota challenge by stepping up with some scrappy play of their own. Artest battled for several offensive rebounds and later hit a timely trey. Brown contributed with two key J's, one of which was a three. By halftime, Los Angeles had regained the lead, 56-54.

In the third quarter, Bryant returned to the lineup bandaged, but ready to go. He quickly hit two big treys, the second of which gave the Lakers a 69-59 lead. Los Angeles would later close the quarter on a 12-0 run punctuated by a Lamar Odom trey that put the Lakers up 86-68. Odom would finish with 13 points in the game.

That lead proved to be insurmountable for Minnesota, as the Lakers cruised through the fourth quarter and improved to 18-3 on the season. They will next face the Utah Jazz on the road Saturday night.

Minnesota fell to 3-20 on the year, and will play the Kings in Sacramento Saturday night.

Post Game Notes

1. Prior to the game, Laker favorite and current Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis was presented with the championship ring that he earned as a Laker assistant coach last season. Rambis received a warm ovation from the fans.

2. Al Jefferson was stellar in defeat for the Wolves, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Former UCLA star Kevin Love had an outstanding night on the glass for Minnesota, grabbing 19 rebounds overall.

3. The Lakers are undefeated with Pau Gasol in the lineup, as they have won 10 consecutive games since his return from injury.

4. Ramon Sessions finished with 15 points and 5 assists on 7-9 shooting.

5. Laker Andrew Bynum had a solid effort on the inside with 12 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks.

6. Corey Brewer had a thunderous, highlight reel dunk over Derek Fisher in the third quarter, as Fisher tried to take a charge, but Brewer simply elevated over him and extended for the jam.

7. Both teams ran the same offense thanks to Rambis installing the triangle with his new team.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...