MINNEAPOLIS — The Lakers managed to make it to Friday’s game from their hotel directly across the street.
It was their only victory of the day.
They certainly didn’t do anything after arriving at Target Center, suffering their largest loss in 25 years of playing the Minnesota Timberwolves, 143-107.
Nothing’s surprising any longer. It’s only boring.
Even Kevin Love tapped the brakes on all the talk about him coming to the Lakers as a free agent in July 2015.
He was born in Santa Monica, played at UCLA, still spends some of his off-season in Los Angeles. But everybody should just calm down, he implied.
“You know, my parents lived there and they had me there. It’s not my fault,” he said. “I don’t really care about that right now. I just go out there and play and don’t think about it.”
But, yeah, it is kind of strange to see a Lakers team this sad.
“Sure,” he said. “It would be like the [San Antonio] Spurs coming out and having a bad year. Stuff like that doesn’t happen. I guess it’s a little weird.”
The Lakers have done this anti-history thing a lot lately.
Stumbled through their worst loss ever to San Antonio two weeks ago (34 points). Allowed Houston to bludgeon them by 26 last month, their largest home loss to the Rockets. Endured their worst loss ever — period, to anybody, in their 66-year history — this month to the Clippers (48 points).
No, there aren’t many nice things to say about the Lakers. Friday too.
Steve Nash played his 12th game this season. Nick Young had four steals. Jordan Hill made almost half his shots.
Back to reality, Minnesota (36-35) had never scored this many points against anybody or shot this well in a game (67.1%). Love drilled the Lakers for 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his second triple-double this season.
It’s no secret that the Lakers and Love make sense as future business partners.
The Lakers, who used to win a lot of games and then sometimes championships, will have plenty of money to give him in a little more than a year.
So Coach Mike D’Antoni was asked almost as many questions about Love as the Lakers before the game. D’Antoni was an assistant coach on the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the London Olympics. Love was usually the first reserve to enter the game.
“I just remember being on the bench, we couldn’t wait to get him in the game,” D’Antoni said. “He was complementary just because of the names out there but he played as well as anybody. He was as instrumental in winning the gold medal as anybody. He’s a little atypical where he can go out on threes and he can do so much that it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
D’Antoni then ran down everything that Love could do. He’s averaging 26.3 points and 12.6 rebounds this season, not to mention 2.5 three-pointers a game. And he’s 6 feet 10.
“He’s got a great outlet pass, he rebounds the ball, knows great position,” D’Antoni said. “He’s relentless on the boards, he’s relentless in attacking you. There’s just a number of things that makes him great.”
He’s the type of stretch power forward that would go well in D’Antoni’s system, no?
“I would rephrase that and say everybody wants something like that,” D’Antoni said. “When you’re talking about one of the best players in the league, yeah it makes sense.”
To be fair to the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol weren’t on the trip. Xavier Henry was declared out because of a sore knee.
But, still, a 26-7 deficit halfway through the first quarter?
“I thought we had a total breakdown,” D’Antoni said. “I can’t explain it. It shouldn’t be explainable. It shouldn’t happen. It did.”
It got worse, the Lakers trailing after three quarters, 111-77. Kent Bazemore had 21 points. Nash had four points and six assists in 15 minutes.
Perhaps the best news came via some quick postgame math. There are 10 games and 19 days remaining in the Lakers’ season.