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.
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.
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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