Lakers vs. Minnesota: Lakers run by Timberwolves, finish 3-0 on trip
The Lakers completed a three-game trip undefeated, finishing off the Timberwolves on Friday night at the Target Center.
The Lakers won every game on the trip by double digits. They beat the Timberwolves by 17 points after building a 25-point lead. The Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks by 11 points and the Detroit Pistons by 13.
In the game against Minnesota, Lakers reserve Matt Barnes had his best game since joining the team this summer as a free agent.
Barnes led the Lakers in scoring with 24 points. He made all seven of his shots, including all five of his three-point attempts. He also had seven rebounds and six assists.
Kobe Bryant had 23 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.
Minnesota center Darko Milicic scored a career-high 23 points and had 16 rebounds, and Michael Beasley had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Kevin Love, the former UCLA star, didn't score, going 0 for 7. He also had only seven rebounds.
Lakers 84, Timberwolves 71 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers went to work at the start of the third quarter, opening an 18-point lead.
Matt Barnes gave the Lakers a big lift in the third, scoring 10 points in the quarter to give him 19 for the game. Barnes had made all six of his shots, all four of his three-pointers, through three quarters.
Michael Beasley led Minnesota with 23 points through three quarters.
Minnesota's other chief weapon, Kevin Love, still hadn't scored in three quarters, missing all five of his shots. Love had six rebounds, just two at the offensive end.
Lakers 51, Timberwolves 41 (end of first half)
The Lakers had a much better second quarter, scoring 31 points and opening a 16-point lead before settling for a 10-point halftime advantage.
Kobe Bryant scored nine of his 13 first-half points in the second quarter for the Lakers.
By the half, the Lakers had improved their shooting to 43.5% through two quarters.
Timberwolves 21, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)
It wasn't the best shooting quarter by the Lakers, a big reason why they trailed the Timberwolves by one point at the end of the first.
The Lakers made just 33.3% of their shots in the first quarter.
Kobe Bryant was one-for-six shooting. Pau Gasol was one of six, and he had three of his shots blocked.
The Lakers were out-rebounded by the Timberwolves in the first, 14-11.
Darko Milicic led the Timberwolves with eight points and four rebounds.
The Lakers knew they were about to face an improving Minnesota team Friday night at the Target Center.
The Timberwolves have a quality scorer in Michael Beasley, who has averaged 32.6 points over his last five games.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he would be "interested" to see how Ron Artest does in his defensive assignment against Beasley.
Minnesota has a top-notch rebounder in Kevin Love, the former UCLA star. Love leads the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.3 per game. He ranks first in defensive rebounds (9.4) and first in offensive rebounds (4.9).
It'll be Lamar Odom's job to keep Love off the offensive boards.
Kobe Bryant entered the Minnesota game averaging 26.3 points a game, third best in the NBA.
Derek Fisher came in shooting 60% (15 for 25) from three-point range, third best in the league.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Minneapolis
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant attempts a reverse layup against the Timberwolves on Friday night in Minnesota. Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn / US Presswire