Timberwolves vs. Lakers final score: Kobe Bryant leads Lakers to 116-94 victory

USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers took care of business on their home court and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in a sound win.

The Los Angeles Lakers defended home-court and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 116-94.

Kobe Bryant had another great game as his team battled for another up-tick in their playoff odds. Bryant scored 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and had five assists. With all three teams directly ahead of the Lakers in the Western Conference standings losing games on Wednesday, a win over the under-manned Timberwolves was nearly a mandate on their playoff chances. Bryant, as he has over the last handful of games, filled up the chart for his squad.

Ricky Rubio had a double-double with 13 points and 13 assists, and fell only two rebounds shy of recording a triple-double. Luke Ridnour also had a big night with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

The Timberwloves only had starting center Nikola Pekovic for nine minutes of the contest after suffering from an abdominal strain, and the Lakers got hot from beyond the arc. As a team, the Lakers shot 16 for 32 from three-point range for an even 50 percent on the night, with the bench going 8 of 16. The bench had 56 points as a unit.

The Timberwolves were led by J.J. Barea's 20 points off the bench. Minnesota, however, shot only 46 percent on the night. Alexey Shved was 1 for 8 on the night, while Dante Cunningham went 2 for 7.

Dwight Howard had 11 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. Minnesota was out-rebounded by the Lakers, 47-36, with the Lakers grabbing 13 offensive rebounds, including this nifty little rebound and put-back from Bryant. Both Bryant and Howard struggled from the line, missing a combined seven free throws.

The Lakers next play Sunday at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The Timberwolves play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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