NBA Basketball: L.A. Lakers at Minnesota T-Wolves – Wolves Favored
Lamar Odom is expected to miss his second straight game with a shoulder problem when the injury-plagued Lakers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Odom was injured in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ loss to Sacramento on Friday and an MRI on Saturday revealed that he has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, according to team spokesman John Black. It is unclear how much time Odom will miss, but he suffered the same injury two years ago and sat out the final two months of the season after successful surgery.
In their first game without their second-leading scorer, the Lakers (33-27) lost 99-94 to Phoenix on Sunday in the opener of a four-game road trip. Kobe Bryant had 31 points, six assists and four rebounds, but shot just 11-for-28 from the field for Los Angeles, which has dropped two straight following three consecutive wins.
The Lakers kept the game close despite shooting 42.2 percent and playing without two of their top three scorers. Luke Walton missed his 17th straight game with an ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
"We’re missing a whole bunch of guys," Bryant said. "That being said, I felt like we gave a valiant effort. We wanted to give ourselves a chance to win the game down the stretch. It never materialized but we were competitive throughout. If we play like this the remainder of the trip, we should be OK."
Bryant has led the Lakers in scoring in each of his last 15 games. He is averaging 29.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists over his last 11 contests, but the Lakers are just 3-8 in that stretch.
Like the Lakers, the Timberwolves (26-33) are losing in spite of stellar play from their best player. Kevin Garnett is averaging 22.1 points, 13.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his last 15 games, but the Wolves are only 4-11 in those contests.
Minnesota has lost six of seven, including three straight, after Sunday’s 124-117 double-overtime defeat in Boston. Garnett had 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double of the season – all in the last month – and Ricky Davis added season highs of 35 points and nine assists.
The Wolves, though, were outscored 9-2 in the final 2:30 of the second overtime and fell to 6-13 since firing coach Dwane Casey and replacing him with Randy Wittman.
"We have to keep fighting," Wittman told the team’s official Web site. "One thing we can’t do is stop fighting. I’m not going to stop fighting. We’ll look for different things and figure out a solution to this."
Minnesota has lost four of its last five home games.
The Lakers are trying for their fourth straight win against Minnesota. Bryant scored 24 points to lead Los Angeles to a 111-94 victory in Minneapolis on Dec. 20. Garnett had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the loss.
These teams close out their season series March 18 in Los Angeles.
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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