Five takeaways from Lakers’ 119-115 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Lakers (10-41) ended their 10-game losing streak, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-36). Here are five takeaways from the 119-115 win at Staples Center.
1. The Lakers seemed to have the game in hand, but the Timberwolves rallied and took a late lead. Kobe Bryant responded with a pair of three-pointers, helping the Lakers hold on for the win.
Bryant scored a season-high 38 points, making him the fourth player age 37 or older in the last 30 years to score at least 35 points with five rebounds and five assists. The other three are Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
In addition to hitting a season-high seven three-pointers, it was Bryant’s third game this year with at least 30 points.
2. Minnesota Coach Sam Mitchell said he still believes in Bryant as a player, and tried to warn his players not to let the veteran get going.
“Let me tell you, there are nights when he is feeling good and when he sees that ball go in enough -- first of all, he has unbelievable confidence in himself at all times in all situations,” Mitchell said.
“When he gets rolling like that, there are nights even at  that he can still find the bottom of that basket and he just might start making tough shots,” he continued.
Bryant hit 10 of 21 from the field and seven of 11 from behind the arc.
3. Bryant’s teammates were also excited about his big night.
“It was just another Mamba moment to add to the collection,” D’Angelo Russell said. “It should be a museum of just Mamba moments.”
Julius Randle was also impressed: “Some of the shots, it’s just like, ‘How do you make it?’ Pretty unbelievable, but when you’re in the game and you’re battling, it’s kind of hard to tell -- but you know he’s doing something special.”
4. Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 30 points, hitting 13 of 20 shot attempts.
“I was very impressed with his turnaround in the post,” Bryant said. “His first year he came in the league, he was off balance with it, exposing the ball too much. Now that one? It was textbook, textbook. Hid the ball well, elevated, faded well. I was impressed.”
5. The Lakers are still in last place in the West, better than just the Philadelphia 76ers (7-41).
The Lakers are 14.5 games behind the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers (22-26).
Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers now would have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in next June’s draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, Philadelphia would get the team’s pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Suns.
If the Lakers would climb a spot in the standings, their lottery odds for a top-three selection would dip to 46.9%. The Lakers are just two wins behind the Brooklyn Nets (12-37).
All things Lakers, all the time.
Get all the Lakers news you need in Dan Woike's weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.