LOS ANGELES — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers rode their luck on Wednesday to record a thrilling 114-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves and move closer to early season respectability.
An action-packed final minute saw the Lakers recover the ball three times on the offensive end after missing shots, before withstanding a potential game-winning effort from Derrick Rose, which was off-target.
The Lakers still have plenty of issues, mainly on the defensive end, but this result put their record at 5-6 and there is cause for optimism after a shaky stretch that put head coach Luke Walton’s job under the microscope.
James contributed 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and calmed the nerves of his young colleagues down the stretch. Former league MVP Rose produced a stunning display, scoring 31 points, including 7-for-9 from three-point range, and narrowed the gap to one with just a minute left.
But with Walton’s methods being scrutinized more than ever, L.A. was able to find the stops it needed to win its third game out of four and avenge a road defeat to the Timberwolves nine days earlier.
Successful outings against Sacramento and Atlanta over the weekend could push the team to a positive record for the first time since James arrived.
Minnesota, still racked by turmoil following the contractual ruckus involving Jimmy Butler, dropped to 4-8 and is struggling to find chemistry, although Rose’s resurgence after several injury-plagued seasons has been a major plus.
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