Lakers 111 - Timberwolves 100 (end of regulation)
The Lakers finally broke the Minnesota Timberwolves' zone, going inside to Pau Gasol to hold on with a 111-100 win.
Dwight Howard sat out, flying back to Los Angeles to get his injured shoulder worked on. Gasol, starting at center, scored 22 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
After an amazing shooting performance that saw the Lakers shoot 68.2% from the field and 71.4% from behind the arc, the Lakers finished a bit more humble at 42.4% and 37.5%, respectively.
The game looked like it would be won at the three-point line but instead it was the Lakers' 57-40 rebounding advantage that gave them their first road win in 2013, breaking an eight-game road losing streak.
Kobe Bryant finished two assists short of a triple double, scoring 17 points with 12 boards. Six Lakers scored in double-figures, including Antawn Jamison (18), Steve Nash (17), Earl Clark (13) and Steve Blake (10).
Alexey Shved led the Timberwolves with 18 points as Minnesota shot 46.1% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range.
The Lakers improve to 21-26 on the season, 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Houston Rockets. The Timberwolves dip to 17-26.
Lakers 85 - Timberwolves 76 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers slowly seemed to realize that they'd need to play some defense if they hope to beat the Timberwolves.
After a blistering hot first half (other than a late four-minute stretch), the Lakers found themselves cold as ice. The Timberwolves' zone held the Lakers without a field goal until Steve Nash nailed a three-pointer with 5:53 in the period.
The Lakers held onto their lead by battling the on the boards and playing defense but a late Wolves' run closed the gap to nine, heading into the fourth.
Steve Nash led the Lakers with 15. Derrick Williams was high-man for the Timberwolves, also with 15.
Lakers 68 - Timberwolves 53 (halftime)
The Lakers couldn't miss and then, for a four-minute stretch, couldn't hit anything.
After extending to a 29-point lead, the Lakers struggled to score against Minnesota's zone defense. The Timberwolves improved their shooting to 52.4% for the game after a slow start, closing to within 15 by the half.
The Lakers hit 56.3% from the field, tying a franchise record with 10-made threes. The two teams combined to hit 15 of their first 19 three-point attempts, the Wolves going a perfect 5-5 while the Lakers hit 9-14.
Once the Lakers cooled off from the outside, they seemed to forget their inside game.
Pau Gasol and Earl Clark led all scorers with 13 apiece. Nikola Pekovic had 12 for the Wolves.
Lakers 37 - Timberwolves 24 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers exploded on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter, scoring 37 points in 12 minutes.
Shooting 68.2% from the field and 71.4% from three-point range, the Lakers were led Pau Gasol who scored 13 points.
Kobe Bryant stayed in triple-double mode, scoring seven points with four assists and six rebounds. Bryant hasn't quite reached a triple-double over recent games, but he's been awfully close.
The Timberwolves shot 50%, after a slow start. Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved led the Wolves with six apiece.
The Lakers (20-26) visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (17-25) on Friday night, when they'll be playing without center Dwight Howard after he aggravated his shoulder injury on Wednesday against the Suns in Phoenix.
While the Timberwolves have struggled with their own flurry of injuries (Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, etc.), they're still a talented team with hopes of climbing into the top eight in the Western Conference.
With Pau Gasol starting at center in place of Howard, the Lakers will try to end an eight-game road losing streak.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Timberwolves.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.