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Lakers can't stop Kevin Love, Timberwolves in 143-107 loss

Minnesota Timberwolves 143 - Lakers 107 (end of regulation)

The Lakers simply didn't compete on Friday night, getting blown out early by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 143-107

Minnesota scored 41 points in the first quarter and 74 by the half, building a 30-point lead the Lakers never recovered from.

Kevin Love notched a three-quarter triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Nikola Pekovic, returning from an ankle injury, scored 26 points in 21 1/2 minutes. Kevin Martin scored 17 points while rookie Gorgui Deng contributed 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

The Lakers were led by Kent Bazemore, who started for Wesley Johnson, with 21 points. The team had six-double-digit scorers including Jodie Meeks (19), Robert Sacre (14), Nick Young (11), Johnson (13), Hill (10) and Bazemore.

The Lakers' offense wasn't the issue, shooting 43.1% from the field as a team with just eight turnovers.

Defensively, the Lakers were awful, allowing the Wolves to shoot 67.1% and 44.4% from three-point range. Minnesota took 40 free-throw attempts while out-rebounding the Lakers 49-26.

The Wolves did turn the ball over 21 times, but it wasn't enough to give the Lakers any window to climb back in.

Steve Nash made a surprise appearance, playing 15 minutes while scoring four points with six assists. Xavier Henry was a scratch with a sore knee.

The Lakers (24-48) return home to host the Phoenix Suns (43-29) on Sunday. The Wolves travel to play the Brooklyn Nets (38-33), also on Sunday.

Timberwolves 111 - Lakers 77 (end of third quarter)

Kevin Love grabbed a last-second rebound to hit the triple-double mark through three quarters with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Wolves continued their offensive onslaught, scoring 37 points in the third. The Lakers' offense improved but trading baskets isn't the way to make up a 30-point halftime deficit.

Jodie Meeks led the Lakers with 15 points. Kent Bazemore scored 13 as the Lakers shot 40.0% from the field.

Timberwolves 74 - Lakers 43 (halftime)

The Lakers were demolished by the Timberwolves in the first half, falling behind by 31 after 24 minutes of play.

Nikola Pekovic scored 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting with a +/- of 31 points in just 13 1/2 minutes.

Kevin Love added 15 points with seven rebounds and six assists as the Wolves shot 64.1% from the field.

The Lakers didn't have much going on either offensively or defensively, shooting just 31.5% while giving up 41 and 33 points in the first two periods.

Nick Young led the Lakers with 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting. Jordan Hill, scored six on 3-of-9 shooting, with a +/- of -31 in 17 1/2 minutes played.

Timberwolves 41 - Lakers 24 (end of first quarter)

The Timberwolves jumped out to an early lead, hitting six of their first seven shots.

Kevin Love led all scorers with 15 points. Nikola Pekovic, returning from an ankle injury, scored 12 on four perfect attempts from both the field and the line.

Minnesota shot 65.0% from the field and took 14 free throws in 12 minutes.

The Lakers struggled offensively until Nick Young gave a boost with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc. His team shot 40.0%, with just two free-throw attempts.

Xavier Henry sat out with knee soreness. Kent Bazemore was promoted to the starting lineup in place of Wesley Johnson.

Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) returned to action with two points and an assist in 7 1/2 minutes.

Pregame

The Lakers (23-47) visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35) on Friday night, playing their second game in as many days after a 108-105 loss Thursday in Milwaukee to the Bucks.

Neither Pau Gasol (vertigo) nor Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) is expected to play. Kobe Bryant (knee) and Jordan Farmar (groin) are also out.

The Timberwolves are unlikely to make the playoffs with a seven-game deficit behind the eighth-place Phoenix Suns (43-29).

For a more extensive breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves

ALSO:

Lakers drop close game to Milwaukee Bucks, 108-105

Steve Nash won't play on the road with the Lakers this week

Lottery prospect Aaron Gordon advances with Arizona to NCAA Elite 8

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

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