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Lakers get double-double in 106-101 win over Timberwolves

They win for the second time on the road this season and break 100 points, also for the second time this season.

January 29, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds, drives past Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson in the second half Sunday night in Minneapolis.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds, drives… (Jim Mone / Associated Press )

Reporting from Minneapolis -- So this is what it feels like to win on the road. And score 100 points.

It was two-for-one night at Target Center, the Lakers incrementally improving their abysmal road record and breaking the century mark for the first time in 13 games with a 106-101 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of course it didn't come easy for the Lakers, which is no longer a surprise this season.

There was an air of desperation on their bench, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant playing the entire second half, tacking on more minutes in an already unforgiving season.

"We wanted to win it and I just felt that's what needed to happen," said Coach Mike Brown, acknowledging he didn't want to do it but adding, "We'll rest later."

An epic fall almost added to the Lakers' woes, an 18-point lead in the third quarter turning into a two-point deficit in the fourth.

But the Lakers' go-to guys took turns scoring down the stretch to push past Minnesota. Bryant scored 35 points, Gasol had 28 and Andrew Bynum had 21 points, the first time all three scored more than 20 in the same game this season.

It was a strange night all around, Brown giving Metta World Peace his first start this season and the Lakers responding with their second road victory in nine tries.

They also terminated their menacing problem with scoring, an issue that had devolved into a team record for futility. Sunday was their strongest push on offense since Jan. 3, a 108-99 victory that night over Houston standing as their only other 100-point game this season.

Along the way, Bryant passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most field goals in team history, finishing the game with 9,946 in his career, 11 more than Abdul-Jabbar.

"It's different than any other franchise," Bryant said. "When you're talking about the Lakers, you're talking about some of the all-time greats. It feels good to be mentioned in the same breath as those players."

The Lakers (12-9) wouldn't have felt so great if Bynum, Bryant and Gasol hadn't rescued them.

Martell Webster's three-point shot put Minnesota ahead, 94-93, with 3:19 to play. Bynum answered with a dunk, Gasol hit a 20-footer, Bynum dunked over two Timberwolves and Bryant hit a 13-foot pull-up to make it 101-96 with 1:16 left.

Some issues couldn't be overlooked. Minnesota outscored the Lakers in the paint, 56-42, and took a ridiculous 24 offensive rebounds. The Lakers had only seven.

"Obviously, they kicked our behinds on the glass," Brown said. "Maybe we were tired, maybe we didn't box out. I don't know."

Kevin Love had 33 points and 13 rebounds. Energetic rookie Ricky Rubio wasn't sharp, missing 11 of 13 shots and finishing with five points. He had eight assists.

Brown said he went with World Peace instead of Matt Barnes for "a change of scenery." World Peace missed all four of his shots and had two points, creating more of the same — a lack of punch at small forward.

The Lakers return home for a game against Charlotte before starting a six-game trip. Somehow, Gasol didn't seem fatigued despite playing all 24 minutes of the second half.

"It probably has happened before, but I don't remember," he said. "Things got complicated in the second half and Coach made a decision on leaving the starting group out for most of the half because we just had to get it done."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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