There is a saying in sports that you cannot win a game in the first quarter. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers lost Sunday night’s game in the first quarter. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the LA Lakers were neck-and-neck in a three-point game six minutes into the contest.
Over the next five minutes, Minnesota put together a 27-2 run, and the home team and the home crowd fell silent. When the shock wore off, one minute remained in the first quarter, and the Timberwolves led by 28 points.
“There just wasn’t enough intensity into the defense, and we paid for it,” Lakers' coach Mike D’Antoni attempted to explain after the game.
After the first period, the game was never really competitive. The Lakers never even managed to cut the deficit to single digits. It was a blowout, and the boo-birds would periodically take flight around Staples Center. Luckily, the Laker Girls were still performing at a high level, so no riots broke out.
On the night, the Timberwolves deserved credit for their play. Ricky Rubio finished with a triple-double: 12 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds. The Spaniard also added five steals to the impressive statline. Kevin Love and Kevin Martin combined for 52 points on 19 of 40 shooting. The two Kevins also combined for seven of the Timberwolves’ 14 3-pointers. To go along with all the scoring, Love also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Minnesota played well.
It wasn’t a pretty game for Lakers’ fans, and D’Antoni showed his disapproval by leaving starters Pau Gasol and Steve Blake in the game until the final whistle. As a reminder, the final score was 113-93. If that wasn’t punishment, it was practice.
For anyone who thought the night could not get any worse, Steve Nash was pulled from the game with 1:42 remaining in the first half and did not return. Yup, the Lakers added injury to the insult that was Sunday night at Staples Center. Triple Threat caught up with Nash after the game, and the 39-year-old Canadian explained his absence.
“I should have come out in the first quarter,” Nash said. “Today, it was a bad day on the way to the game. So, today, I just struggled.”
Nash explained that he would see a doctor on Monday. His nerve issue, hamstring, and back problems were all connected and acting up. He did not sound or appear overly enthusiastic about the medical meeting, but he wanted to avoid going into too further detail until Monday’s checkup as he was still a bit "emotional."
On Sunday night, the Lakers lost in more ways than one, and it sure felt that way.