Sorry, history. Infamy will have to wait for another day.
They were startlingly efficient Tuesday night, led by their least accurate starter this season.
It was throwback night for
It was bad enough that it got this far, the Lakers (10-41) tying their worst skid ever by losing to Charlotte two days earlier.
Tuesday's game was anything but boring, a change from the norm in recent weeks.
The Lakers led by 16 right before halftime and couldn't hold it at Staples Center, Minnesota taking a 102-101 lead on Zach LaVine's fastbreak layup with 5:15 left.
Bryant answered with back-to-back three-pointers and the crisis was averted for a few more minutes. His 20-foot floater meant a 113-110 lead with 26.4 seconds left, and he made six consecutive free throws from there as Minnesota started fouling to shorten possessions.
"You've seen me for 20 damn years. What do you expect?" said Bryant, who was 10 for 21 overall and added five assists. "It feels good to make those shots."
It might not have felt all that good to Timberwolves Coach Sam Mitchell, who as it happens was Toronto's coach when Bryant torched the
"I hate him," Mitchell said, facetiously. "If I don't ever see him again, it will be too soon. I hate him."
Told of Mitchell's remarks, Bryant said: "Thank you for the hate. Truly, I love that."
Despite the victory, the oft-serious Scott said he wouldn't smile in front of reporters in the interview room.
"When I get back in the locker room," he said, before quickly pointing out, "that's the type of fight I've been looking for."
Russell had 18 points and three assists; Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Maybe Julius Randle wanted to remind everyone he was the big man on campus a full year before Towns arrived at Kentucky. Randle had 15 points and 12 rebounds while orbiting around the basket the entire night, scoring on three dunks, two layups and a tip-in.
"I think they were just tired of it," Scott said, alluding to all the losing.
Towns, by the way, is still special. He leads all rookies in double-doubles with 25.
The Lakers brought out their highest-scoring first half this season, building a 66-52 lead as Bryant was nicely effective, scoring 15 points on four-for-seven shooting.
Oddly, nobody on the Lakers knew Bryant's whereabouts before the game.
Scott thought he was going to play but wasn't certain. Lakers officials weren't sure either. He couldn't be tracked down. It was less than an hour until tipoff.
It's not unusual for Bryant to skip shoot-around on the day of a game. It happens this season a lot more often than not.
But for him to not communicate more directly whether he would play — this was something new.
Asked about the uncertainty, Bryant said, "I don't really pay much attention to that stuff. I don't know what to tell you."
Bryant obviously showed up in time for tip-off.
Scott might even look the other way if he keeps everyone guessing again.
"Of course. If it helps. Whatever it takes," Scott said, and he was finally smiling.
The Timberwolves (14-36) already held two close victories over the Lakers — 112-111 and 123-122 in overtime. There would not be a third despite 30 points from Andrew Wiggins.
The Lakers finally won. The historic streak was over.