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NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Minnesota

(Monday, January 10th)

Final Score: LA Lakers 105, Minnesota 96

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Chucky Atkins scored 23 points, handed out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-96 win over the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

Atkins sparked a 26-7 run that bridged the final two quarters, helping the Lakers overcome what was a 16-point deficit.

Kobe Bryant tallied a game-high 31 points for Los Angeles, which has won two straight. Chris Mihm added 14 points and 17 boards for the Lakers, who ended a two-game road slide and won for just the sixth time in 14 road contests. Caron Butler also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards in the win.

Kevin Garnett had 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Minnesota, which has dropped two straight and nine of 12. Troy Hudson added 20 points and six assists for the Timberwolves, who failed to inject a bit of revenge on the Lakers after losing to the club in last year's Western Conference finals.

"We can't panic," said Minnesota's Wally Szczerbiak, who finished with 12 points. "We have to stick together. We've had all the team meetings we could possibly have. We've had all the coaches meetings we could have. We have to continue to work and practice. We were playing well at the beginning of the game. We had a lot of energy and they got back into the game with the three- ball."

After trailing for nearly the entire game, the Lakers grabbed the lead thanks to a huge run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. Atkins began the 26-7 run with a bucket at the end of the third to make the score 76-67. He later ended it with a basket seven minutes into the fourth for a 91-83 advantage.

The Lakers, who took the lead on a Jumaine Jones three-pointer, 82-79, made the run without Bryant on the floor. Atkins and Butler each had five points during the run, while Brian Cook had six on a pair of three-point field goals.

Minnesota had trouble responding after that, with the Lakers extending to a 96-86 advantage on a Bryant three with under two minutes to play. Minnesota did draw within 96-90 courtesy of consecutive baskets by Latrell Sprewell and Trenton Hassell, but Los Angeles continued to have an answer after that and cruised to the victory.

"It was (a good win) especially the way we got out," said Mihm. "They got out to a big lead. We fought back all night. Finally in the fourth quarter we rallied."

Sprewell finished with 18 points for the Timberwolves, who played without injured guard Sam Cassell.

Jones ended with 10 points for the Lakers, who have won two straight regular- season contests against Minnesota.

The Timberwolves grabbed a 27-14 lead after one quarter and held a 53-44 edge going into halftime. Minnesota's lead had ballooned to 16 points late in the second when Michael Olowokandi drained a bucket with 2:27 remaining in the quarter.

In the third, the Lakers remained within striking distance going into the final frame down only 76-67.

Game Notes

The Lakers won the Western Conference finals in six games over the Timberwolves...Cassell missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury...Before the game, Minnesota placed forward Mark Madsen on the injured list and signed forward John Thomas to a 10-day contract. Madsen has a broken thumb...LA is 17-2 when allowing under 100 points this season...The Lakers took a season-high 35 three-pointers, hitting 16...Bryant went 6-of-11 from behind the arc while Atkins went 4-of-10...Minnesota hit only 5-of-14 three- pointers.

01/10 23:27:34 ET

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