Los Angeles

LeBron-less Lakers Get Routed by Timberwolves, 108-86

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both had 28 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves tyrannized the LeBron-less Lakers, 108-86, on Sunday afternoon at Target Center.

Help me LeBron James, you're our only hope.

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both had 28 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves tyrannized the LeBron-less Lakers, 108-86, on Sunday afternoon at Target Center.

LeBron James did not travel with the team to Minnesota, and is expected to miss at least another week with a strained left groin suffered on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, the Lakers are in a freefall without their superstar, a rudderless ship, seemingly lost at sea. 

For the second straight game, the Lakers struggled out of the gate, trailing 20-3 to start the game.

"It's unacceptable we allowed that many points to start," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. "That's the second game in a row a team has came in to the first quarter and just scored at will on us. We didn't engage ourselves in the fight until we got to the second unit."

They would trail by as many as 28 points in the second half as the Timberwolves cruised to the easy blowout victory. 

Wiggins scored 25 points in the first half to lead the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 28 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. Jeff Teague had 15 points and 11 assists. 

Los Angeles was led by Lance Stephenson who scored 14 points off the bench. Michael Beasley had his best game since returning to the team on Friday, scoring 11 points.

Brandon Ingram had 13 points, but he shot a paltry 5-of-16 from the field.

"They're trying, but they're young," said Walton of Ingram and poing guard Lonzo Ball who was held scoreless in the loss. "We need more passion and more fight."

Without their top two leading scorers, the Lakers offense looked stale and stagnant for the second consecutive game. The team struggled from the field, shooting just 36 percent and 22 percent from beyond the arc.

Desperate for anything to stop the vaunted Timberwolves offensive attack, the Lakers switched to a zone defense in the second half, cutting the lead to 15 points before Minnesota increased the lead to 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers and free throws continue to be the Lakers Achilles' heel as Los Angeles committed 21 turnovers and shot just 60 percent from the charity stripe.

The Timberwolves scored 23 points off Lakers turnovers. 

The Lakers have now lost five of their six games without LeBron James, and have fallen further in the Western Conference standings after nipping at the heels of the Golden State Warriors following a dominant Christmas Day victory.

Minnesota has beaten the Lakers seven straight games at home with L.A.'s last victory coming on March 25, 2015 in overtime.

Notes and Next

The Lakers were without LeBron James (groin), Rajon Rondo (finger), and Kyle Kuzma (lower back). Kuzma travelled with the team and warmed up before the game, but ultimately was unable to go. He could start on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. Minnesota was without Derrick Rose (ankle).

Los Angeles will travel south to Dallas for a dance with the Mavericks on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30PM PT. 

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