Bryant, Lakers cruise past slumping TimberwolvesMar 7, 2009 - 7:19 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- A road meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers only added to the Minnesota Timberwolves' troubles.
Kobe Bryant poured in 23 points as the Lakers coasted to a 110-90 victory over the lowly Timberwolves on Friday.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds and Josh Powell contributed 14 and six off the bench for Los Angeles, which earned its sixth straight win at home and second in a row overall after dropping back-to-back road games to the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.
"We did what we were supposed to do," Gasol said. "Our bench got a chance to play big minutes and played really well. We took care of the game. We got to 50 wins, which is nice, and now we move on and focus on the road trip coming up that is going to be challenging."
Ryan Gomes scored 20 points and rookie Kevin Love added 18 and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, which endured its eighth straight loss and fell to 1-10 since leading scorer and rebounder Al Jefferson suffered a torn ACL on February 9.
"It's real tough, low times right now," Love said. "But we know it will get better eventually. It might not be this season, but we will get better."
Despite Jefferson's absence, the Timberwolves got off to a strong start as Sebastian Telfair's jumper with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter pushed the team ahead by four points.
"We hung around for a while but just weren't able to sustain anything," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "They got running up and down and it got away from us."
But the Lakers responded with an 11-0 run over the next 2:05, moving in front, 20-13, on Jordan Farmar's 3-pointer.
"Overall, it was a good win for us," said Los Angeles point guard Derek Fisher, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
"When you play against teams that physically you can out-match them and you are better than them, they aren't as easy as you might think. I think we did a good job of just remaining patient in this game."
Minnesota trimmed the deficit to three points early in the second, but a three by Sasha Vujacic doubled Los Angeles' advantage and sparked a 12-3 surge that gave the Lakers a 34-22 lead with 6:58 remaining in the half.
The Timberwolves narrowed the Lakers' 47-36 halftime advantage to four points as Gomes and Love combined to score the first seven points of the third quarter.
Los Angeles countered, as it did all night, putting together a 12-2 surge capped by Luke Walton's layup that gave the Lakers an insurmountable 59-45 lead with 6:49 remaining in the session.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Bryant expanded the bulge to 71-52 with 2:59 left and the reigning MVP departed for good 66 seconds later with the decision well in hand.
LA LAKERS 110 FINAL
Mar 7 12:55 AM
LA LAKERS 110 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Mar 7 12:54 AM
LA LAKERS 77 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 7 12:20 AM
LA LAKERS 47 HALFTIME
Mar 6 11:39 PM
LA LAKERS 22 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 6 11:12 PM
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