Preview: Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Preview: Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves
Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio flips a pass between Lakers forward Wesley Johnson (11) and guard jodie Meeks during a game at Staples Center. (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

The Lakers (16-31) will finally get some players back on Tuesday night, after struggling through much of the season with their top three point guards on the mend.

Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) might all be available when the Lakers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24).


The Wolves have had their own injury issues, most notably losing center Nikola Pekovic to an ankle injury.

Of course, the Lakers will be at a disadvantage with Pau Gasol (groin) and Kobe Bryant (knee) sidelined, along with Xavier Henry (knee).

Any game the Lakers win over their final 35 contests could only hurt their 2014 NBA draft lottery position.

Key matchup

Kevin Love is having a tremendous season, averaging 25.5 points, 13.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game.

He's been right about at his averages in two games against the Lakers, at 25 points and 13 rebounds. The Wolves and Lakers split a pair at Staples Center earlier in the season.

It's unclear exactly how the Lakers will scheme to defend Love.

Coach Mike D'Antoni may try a combination of players including Ryan Kelly, Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Wesley Johnson.

Offensively, the Lakers may need a big performance from Kaman. Though he hasn't been a regular part of the rotation, Kaman is averaging 8.1 points on 49.4% shooting in 16.7 minutes a game.


Ricky Rubio has struggled with his shot this season, making only 35.5% from the field, but he is still an integral part of the Wolves' offense.

Rubio averages 8.2 assists against 2.7 turnovers a game. He's also averaging 8.4 points.

The Lakers have been completely dependent on second-year point guard Kendall Marshall.

Now D'Antoni could have as many as four point guards.


How that looks as far as minutes, rotation and production remains to be seen.


It's in the best interest for the Lakers to keep losing. The Wolves are still fighting for a playoff spot while the Lakers are destined for the lottery.


Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.