Lakers vs. Timberwolves: 10 Things to Know

Like the Lakers, Minnesota has been devastated by injuries this season.

Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

1) After swatting three shots against Memphis Wednesday, Ed Davis is 17th in the league with 1.47 blocks per game. Davis has made the most of his 22.3 minutes per game, as only Larry Sanders averages less playing time among the 16 players ahead of Davis.

2) The Lakers are winless in the seven games that their bench has been outscored by their opponent’s. Since returning from a thumb injury five games ago, sixth man Nick Young has pitched in 11.6 points per contest, but he is shooting just 24.2 percent (8-for-33) in the team’s past three games.

3) The Lakers are 23-5 against the Timberwolves at STAPLES Center. In the last 15 times the two teams squared off in Los Angeles, the Lakers came away with 14 victories.

4) This matchup features a pair of teams that have struggled defensively this season. The Lakers have given up the most points per game (110.8) in the NBA, but Minnesota is second (109.7). The Timberwolves are allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 50.8 percent from the field, while L.A. has yielded the second-highest clip (48.4).

5) Andrew Wiggins has thus far lived up to his billing as the top overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Wiggins leads all rookies with 12.6 points per game. He also has the highest usage rate* among rookies at 22.1 percent.

6) Corey Brewer has been one of the league’s best at forcing turnovers this year. The two-time NCAA champion leads the NBA in steal percentage** (4.2), and he is tied with Paul Millsap for second in steals per game (2.3).

7) Like the Lakers, Minnesota has been devastated by injuries this season. Kevin Martin, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Ronnie Turiaf are all out for Friday’s game in Los Angeles, while Mo Williams is questionable. In 13 games this season, the Timberwolves have already used nine different starting lineups.

8) Minnesota’s injuries leave the team without many of its best players. Martin scores a team-high 20.4 points per game, and he is seventh in the league in 3-point percentage (48.1). Rubio, who is averaging a team-best 10.0 assists, has created 24.2 points per game by assist, which ranks second behind Boston’s Rajon Rondo. Pekovic leads Minnesota in rebounding with 8.1 boards per game.

9) The Timberwolves have been unable to stop opponents from getting to the hoop. They have allowed teams to shoot 58.0 percent at the rim, which trails only Charlotte for worst in the league. Minnesota is also giving up 49.5 points in the paint, the second-most behind Boston.

10) Minnesota has only been able to win this season when its defense steps up. All 10 of the Timberwolves’ losses have come when allowing the opponent to reach the 100-point mark, while all three of their wins have come by stopping them from reaching triple digits.

*Usage rate is an estimation of the percentage of a team’s plays used by a particular player when he is on the floor.
**Steal percentage is an estimation of the percentage of opponents’ possessions that end in a steal by a particular player.

Leave a Reply