Pau Gasol and Nick Young combined for 12 points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter to help the Los Angeles Lakers close out the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-91. Gasol finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Young, who was the Lakers go-to perimeter scorer, knocked down 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Love scored 20 points in the first half, but didn't score a single point in the fourth quarter to finish the night with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Nikola Pekovic contributed 22 points and 13 rebounds, but struggled shooting from the field. The team, as a whole, struggled shooting, netting just 35 percent of its shots from the field and 23 percent (5-of-22) from behind the arc.
The Lakers, as a team, shot 54 percent from the floor. That shooting was good enough to survive the 19 turnovers it surrendered in the absence of a traditional point guard. Xavier Henry started at point, finishing with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The win brings Los Angeles to .500 and just one game back of the Golden State Warriors for third place in the Pacific Division. On the flip side, the Timberwolves, whom are struggling to get over the proverbial hump, fall back to 13-14.
The Lakers led by as much as 11 points in the first quarter, but the Timberwolves closed the second quarter on a 20-7 run, taking a two-point lead heading into halftime. They shot just 38 percent from the floor, to no fault of Love. The versatile big man scored 20 points on 10 shots and collected seven rebounds in the first half, giving Minnesota a much needed boost in offense.
Los Angeles shot over 58 percent from the floor in the first 24 minutes, but couldn't escape its own demise as it turned the ball over 13 times. Henry contributed three turnovers and Young, spelling the lead guard position, looked uncomfortable running the offense, turning the ball over five times in 14 first half minutes.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair but it was the Lakers who closed the third quarter on an 8-1 run, taking a five point lead into the fourth quarter. That lead extended to as much as 13 and Minnesota was unable to ever retake control of the game.
With just under four minutes remaining, Gasol launched a corner-three as the shot clock was running down to extend Los Angeles' lead to six points. On the Lakers next possession, the Spaniard banked in a fall away jumper. Moments later, Young knocked down a triple -- his fourth of the night -- to seal the Lakers victory.