NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Minnesota
(Friday, April 9th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 97, Minnesota 88
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol was the offensive catalyst for the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers, tallying 29 points and 15 rebounds to help Los Angeles secure the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 97-88 decision over Minnesota.
Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar each scored 13 points with Odom also pulling down 12 rebounds for LA, which despite losing four of five coming in felt comfortable sitting Bryant (knee, finger) for the second straight game.
Jonny Flynn scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost 11 straight to the Lakers. Kevin Love grabbed 18 rebounds to go with 12 points, while Ramon Sessions and Ryan Gomes added 16 and 15 points, respectively, in defeat, the 20th in the last 21 games for the club.
"[The Lakers] are a veteran team. They have guys capable of big games despite their main guy (Bryant) being out," Gomes said. "Gasol played well for them tonight and all of their guys chipped in."
Minnesota was within 88-84 late in the fourth, but two Ron Artest free throws and a Gasol jump hook around a Corey Brewer miss pushed the Lakers' lead to 92-84 with 1:20 remaining.
Sessions put in a quick deuce before Odom's three off an offensive rebound all but clinched the win, allowing the Lakers home court advantage up until the NBA Finals.
A sloppy first quarter ended with LA holding a 21-17 lead. The Lakers continued to clamp down defensively and scored the final eight points of the second frame for a 52-34 halftime cushion.
Minnesota came out of the locker room and scored the first nine points of the third to cut its deficit to single digits, and it was a nine-point game, 74-65, in favor of the visitors heading to the final stanza.
Two Darko Milicic free throws capped an 8-0 Minnesota run to get within 84-80 with just over five minutes left in the game.
"We didn't want them to make that run, obviously. They just made plays and executed," Gasol said of Minnesota's fourth quarter. "We clamped down defensively and got some stops and that's how you win ballgames down the stretch."
Artest, Shannon Brown and D.J. Mbenga each scored 11 points for the Lakers...Milicic had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists...Minnesota's Al Jefferson (personal reasons) sat out for a second straight game.
04/10 00:13:06 ET