The Minnesota Timberwolves outscored the Los Angeles Lakers 40-12 in the third quarter en route to a 107-83 road win in Staples Center on Friday evening.
L.A. led 49-44 at halftime before Minnesota turned a close game into a blowout. Karl-Anthony Towns outscored the Lakers 18-12 in the third quarter alone, hitting four three-pointers along the way. He finished with 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting and seven rebounds.
The Lakers got little production outside Anthony Davis (22 points) and Russell Westbrook (20), with the rest of the team combining to score just 41 on 15-of-58 shooting. L.A. continued to play without LeBron James, who missed his fifth straight game with an abdominal strain.
The 4-7 Timberwolves broke a six-game losing skid. The 7-6 Lakers' two-game win streak ended.
Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Timberwolves PG D'Angelo Russell: 22 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds
Timberwolves G Patrick Beverley: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Lakers PF/C Anthony Davis: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals
Lakers PG Russell Westbrook: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Lakers Post Historically Bad Third Quarter and Second Half
With 11:17 remaining in the third quarter, Davis hit a 19-foot jumper to give the Lakers a 51-47 lead.
From that point forward, the Lakers did not make another basket for nearly eight minutes of game time when Avery Bradley knocked down a three-pointer with 3:44 remaining to cut the Minnesota lead to 73-56.
That three was moot. Minnesota had engineered a 27-2 run between the Davis and Bradley buckets, with the Lakers' only points coming on a pair of AD free throws.
Patrick Beverley went on a short scoring run during that span and also contributed across the board:
Towns had seven points of his own in that stretch, and that was before he closed the quarter with 11 more points in the final four minutes to finish the frame with 18 and give Minnesota a 23-point edge going into the fourth.
On the other end, the Lakers missed 14 straight shots and committed three turnovers. By the time the quarter (and game) were over, this Lakers team found itself on the wrong side of history.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic summed up the effort well:
Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
Third quarter: Wolves 84, Lakers 61<br><br>A stunning third-quarter collapse from the Lakers, who were outscored 40 to 12. That quarter featured LA's worst habits this season: unforced turnovers, low-percentage looks, stagnation, failing to box out, etc. Just an awful 12 minutes.
As Mark Medina of USA Today noted, what was seen Friday appeared to be symbolic of the worst this Lakers' season has had to offer thus far:
Despite the loss, the sky isn't completely falling in L.A. Yes, 7-6 isn't where the Lakers want to be, but James isn't on the court. It appears he may be back soon, per head coach Frank Vogel's pregame comments (h/t Lakers reporter Mike Trudell).
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold offered a nuanced perspective on the game as it relates to this year:
Sure, losing by 24 at home to a 4-7 team isn't ideal, but it's only November. The Lakers have time to work out their issues, although a multitude of them exist after 13 contests.
Towns, Timberwolves Break Losing Skid Thanks To Excellent Third Quarter
The Timberwolves started this year 3-1 and had the look of a team ready to challenge for a postseason berth (or at least a play-in tournament spot).
They've looked anything but in the past few weeks as they dropped six straight games and appeared heading for another lost season.
Still, this is a very young and developing team that's going to go through its ups and downs, and Minnesota showed that they're capable of greatness when they're at their best.
In order for Minnesota to do that, it needs Towns to lead the way, and that's just what the big man did as he destroyed the Lakers in the third quarter.
He ended the game making 11-of-17 shots and 4-of-8 three-pointers, including this one from way downtown:
Minnesota did all this despite a quiet performance from Anthony Edwards (nine points, five turnovers), who entered the night scoring 25.9 points per game.
The fact that the Timberwolves were able to come away with a 24-point road win over a winning team despite Edwards scoring nearly 17 points below his season average showcases this team's depth.
The question is whether Minnesota can showcase consistency on a weekly basis as the season moves along. We'll soon find out, but the Timberwolves showed that they could be in the postseason mix come April.
The Lakers will host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Minnesota will stay in town to play the L.A. Clippers on Saturday at 10:30 p.m.