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Lakers get Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, but can't break losing streak

February 04, 2014|By Eric Pincus
  • Nick Young tries to keep the ball away from Minnesota's Corey Brewer during the first quarter Tuesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Nick Young tries to keep the ball away from Minnesota's Corey Brewer… (Jim Mone / Associated Press )

Timberwolves 109 - Lakers 99 (end of regulation)

The Lakers gave a strong effort against the Timberwolves, holding Minnesota to just 41 points in the second half, but it wasn't enough for a win.

Minnesota ended a two-game losing streak with their wire-to-wire, 109-99 win over the Lakers despite playing without starting center Nikola Pekovic.

The Lakers drop their seventh straight game, despite getting Steve Nash and Steve Blake back from injury.

Nash played just under 25 minutes, scoring seven points with nine assists.  Blake, who suffered a punctured ear drum in the game, but kept playing, finished with six assists and three steals without scoring.

Jodie Meeks suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter after playing just a minute and a half.  Jordan Hill was clobbered, unintentionally, by teammate Chris Kaman -- an elbow to the head sent Hill to the locker room after playing just under four minutes (headache, cervical strain).

The Timberwolves scored 38 points in the first quarter, but slowed considerably in the second half.  Minnesota was led by Kevin Martin with 32 points. Kevin Love scored 31 while point guard Ricky Rubio dished 13 assists.

The Lakers were led by Nick Young with 24 points off the bench.  Wesley Johnson contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, starting the second half for the injured Meeks.

The only Laker starter in double figures was Robert Sacre, with 14 points.

Manny Harris, whose second 10-day contract expires Tuesday, scored 19 points with eight rebounds.  Even if Meeks is out for an extended duration, Harris is unlikely to be re-signed by the team -- at least until after the trade deadline.

The Lakers shot 41.8% from the field and 47.6% from three-point range (10-21). Minnesota shot 44.6% and 47.1% (8-17), respectively.

Minnesota took 12 more free throws than the Lakers (38-26). The Timberwolves also had a 15-rebound advantage (53-38).

The Lakers (16-32) played without Pau Gasol (groin), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Xavier Henry (knee). The team will travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers (16-32) on Wednesday night.

The Timberwolves (24-24) also play on Wednesday, visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder (39-11).

Timberwolves 89 - Lakers 78 (end of third quarter)

While the Lakers climbed back into the game against the Timberwolves, word came out from the team that Steve Blake ruptured his ear drum in the first half.

Blake was able to play through the injury but Wesley Johnson started the third quarter for the injured Jodie Meeks.

The Lakers had fallen behind by as many as 25 but managed to hold the Wolves to just 21 points in the third after allowing 68 in first half.

Manny Harris led the Lakers with 15 while Robert Sacre and Nick Young chipped in 14. Steve Nash dished nine assists while Blake managed five.

The Lakers shot 45.6% from the field with 13 turnovers.

The Wolves were led by 28 points from Kevin Love and 26 from Kevin Martin. Ricky Rubio dished 13 assists without scoring a single point. Minnesota shot 47.6% through three periods.

Timberwolves 68 - Lakers 52 (halftime)

In addition to losing Jodie Meeks to an ankle injury, Jordan Hill didn't play in the second quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Chris Kaman in the first period.

Hill won't return after playing just over 3 1/2 minutes. Meeks played just 1 1/2 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves took a 16-point lead into the half.

Kevin Martin led all scorers with 19, while his teammate Kevin love scored 18.  Minnesota shot 52.3% from the field.

Manny Harris, whose second 10-day contract expires before Wednesday, led the Lakers with 13 points on five attempts without a miss.

Steve Nash scored seven with six assists as the Lakers shot 45.0% from the field.

Timberwolves 38 - Lakers 26 (end of first quarter)

Steve Nash and Steve Blake made their long-awaited returns, but the Lakers lost Jodie Meeks a few minutes into the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Meeks sprained his right ankle, landing on Corey Brewer's foot while attempting a three-pointer.

Nash looked sharp through 7 1/2 minutes, scoring four points with four assists without a turnover. Blake picked up two fouls after about three minutes on the court.

The Wolves took a double-digit lead behind 14 points from Kevin Martin.  Kevin Love also scored 11 as Minnesota shot 56.0% from the field.

The Lakers were led by Nick Young with seven, shooting 45% as a team but struggling on the whole defensively.  Robert Sacre scored six points on three attempts without a miss.

Pregame

The Lakers (16-31) visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24) on Tuesday night.

Can the Lakers end their six-game losing streak?  They'll need to do so without Pau Gasol who is back home in Los Angeles with a groin injury.

The Timberwolves have lost two straight, struggling without center Nikola Pekovic (ankle).

Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow) are expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out with injury.  Jordan Farmar (hamstring) may also be available as well.

Coach Mike D'Antoni start Jodie Meeks at small forward, alongside a front court of Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.

For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves.

ALSO:

Steve Nash, Steve Blake to start tonight for Lakers

Manny Harris named NBA Development League all-star

Pau Gasol has platelet therapy to speed healing of groin injury

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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