Kevin McHale Still Winless as Minnesota T-Wolves Head Coach After Lakers Win

Ryan WardCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2008

The Minnesota Timberwolves just seem to be an NBA franchise destined for failure. No matter what they do, draft picks they get or what trades they make, the T'Wolves haven't been able to get back to West dominance like they did with Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell and Kevin Garnett some years ago.

As if seeing KG winning the NBA championship last season with the Boston Celtics right after being traded from Minnesota wasn't bad enough, the Timberwolves have not been able to replace KG's presence or dominance on the court. Al Jefferson is definitely a star on the rise as he seems to improve with every game, but his supporting cast just can't help him enough to get it done.

This team could be a force to be reckoned with in the next five years or so with young talent like Randy Foye and Kevin Love, but as of right now they are a team struggling to discover their identity.

Coming into this game, Minnesota had just recently made a change at head coach by switching Kevin McHale's job title from general manager to coach of the TWolves, but he has failed to win any of the three games he has coached thus far, including this loss to the Lakers 98-86.

Even though the Timberwolves have only won four games this season and aren't a very good basketball team right now, they definitely gave the Lakers a run for their money by constantly challenging the Lakers defense which hasn't been as impressive as it once was early this season.

Kobe Bryant had a poor shooting night only hitting nine of 24 shots, but he came up big late in the game to lead the Lakers to victory with his 26 points. Pau Gasol was the player of the game in my opinion with 18 points, 11 boards, six assists, and three blocks on the defensive end.

Even though Al Jefferson had to deal with a packed painted area with Pau and Andrew Bynum he had a pretty good game for the TWolves scoring 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks of his own. Mike Miller and power forward Craig Smith also had notable games as Miller added 11 points and ripped down nine boards and Smith finished with 18 points and eight boards.

There were two other Lakers that deserve some credit for the win, both Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum came to play Sunday at home. Bynum scored 14 points to with nine rebounds, Ariza who continues to be one of the best bench players in the league, especially on the defensive end, added 14 points, five boards, and three steals.

Although the final score doesn't show it, this was a close game with the TWolves breathing down the Lakers necks all game long, but they just couldn't close them out down the stretch.

The Lakers showed earlier in the season that they figured out their defensive dilemma, but lately that defensive intensity has been missing and their opponents have taken notice.

Obviously when the defense is clicking, the Lakers are arguably the toughest team to beat in the NBA, but if they don't get that intensity back on defense that they had when they were blowing out teams by 20 or 30 points, then the Lakers could be in trouble when they face the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.

NEXT LAKERS GAME: New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, Nov. 16th 7:30pm PST