LeBron James Leads Lakers' Balanced Attack in Win vs. Anthony Edwards, T-Wolves

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, passes the ball over Minnesota Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are starting to find their form after the All-Star break.

Los Angeles won its third straight game out of the break with a 137-121 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Tuesday's Western Conference showdown at Staples Center. LeBron James led the way with a triple-double in a balanced offensive effort for the Purple and Gold, who improved to 27-13 on the season.

Impressive showings from Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and Ricky Rubio were not enough for the Timberwolves, who fell to a dismal 9-31 on the campaign.


Notable Player Stats

  • LeBron James, F, LAL: 25 PTS, 12 REB, 12 AST
  • Montrezl Harrell, C, LAL: 25 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB
  • Talen Horton-Tucker, G, LAL: 16 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST
  • Karl-Anthony Towns, C, MIN: 29 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB, 2 BLK
  • Anthony Edwards, F, MIN: 29 PTS, 4 REB
  • Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN: 19 PTS, 12 AST, 3 STL


LeBron Posts Triple-Double as Balanced Lakers Cruise to Win

A rested King is a dangerous King.

In two games out of the All-Star break, LeBron posted a double-double with assists in a win over the Indiana Pacers and a triple-double in a win over the Golden State Warriors. He was asked to lead the way again in Tuesday's contest with Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Alex Caruso and Jared Dudley all out.

It didn't seem to be much of a problem in the early going, as James was on pace for a triple-double as the Lakers took the lead and poured in 71 points by halftime.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

BLOCKED BY JAMES https://t.co/6SfwVHJZpC

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Bron's hang time on this play 😳 https://t.co/TUGsK6YZit

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

All of it. Too precise. (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/46OSldI3rP

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Lakers Fast Break with a bang 💥 https://t.co/t3KhSzxgsA

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Montrezl Harrell is a fine artist in the paint. https://t.co/lZFk2AaJEp

Markieff Morris also found his scoring touch, and Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell provided a spark off the bench against a Timberwolves defense that was anything but locked in throughout the game.

Talen Horton-Tucker and Dennis Schroder also got in on the scoring action as LeBron continued to pick his spots into the second half all while being a willing passer and battling for boards. James was the focal point, but so many scorers made it almost impossible for an overmatched Minnesota team to come away with critical stops as it fell behind by double digits.

About the only thing in question down the stretch was whether James would clinch his triple-double, and he did just that with a run of assists to Harrell as the Lakers pulled away.

Los Angeles is dangerous enough when LeBron is dialed in, but six players scoring in double figures made it all the more difficult to counter for the Timberwolves in defeat.


Anthony Edwards Continues Hot Streak in Loss

All is not lost for the Timberwolves.

While they are nowhere near the playoff race, Edwards has provided a bright spot of late. He may not catch LaMelo Ball in the Rookie of the Year chase, but the No. 1 pick of the 2020 draft scored at least 19 points for the eighth consecutive game and reached the 20-point mark for the seventh time in that span.

Tuesday was a golden opportunity for Edwards to make a statement against the defending champions as a go-to option, especially without D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley. He was also coming off a career-high 34 points against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Minnesota Timberwolves @Timberwolves

KAT goes over the shoulder for tonight's @SharecareInc Share of the Game 👀 https://t.co/GTHHTgHuXq

Minnesota Timberwolves @Timberwolves

🌟 s h o w t i m e 🌟 https://t.co/6BOCM3xJPo

Minnesota Timberwolves @Timberwolves

too big, too strong https://t.co/MpOXpfxQor

Minnesota Timberwolves @Timberwolves

Ant plays catch with the newest owner of the @RedSox ⚾️ https://t.co/4p5t1idxXU

Minnesota Timberwolves @Timberwolves

the sweetest shooting 7-footer in NBA history at work https://t.co/igRqP7zZbS

The Georgia product showed those same flashes against the Lakers by cutting into openings, expanding his game beyond the arc and proving he can do more than just soar through the air for high-flying dunks.

It was far from a solo effort, as Minnesota remained within striking distance with Rubio dishing out assists and hitting multiple three-pointers while also scoring in the lane. The offense also ran through Towns for stretches, and he either facilitated or attacked the defense as a scorer from the high-elbow on multiple occasions.

Still, Jaylen Nowell was the only other Timberwolves player to score in double figures outside of that starting trio, and the defense struggled to keep the visitors in the game.

That is not a formula for success against the Lakers.


What's Next?

Both teams are in action Thursday when the Lakers host the Charlotte Hornets and the Timberwolves visit the Phoenix Suns.