Kobe Bryant collected 33 points and six rebounds to lift his Los Angeles Lakers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-94 yesterday at the Staples Center. The 1-7 Timberwolves pulled within two late in the contest but could never create a lead over the two-time defending champions. Bryant and company can be grouped with the 1987 and 1997 Lakers as the only teams in franchise history to start the season at 8-0.
Pau Gasol came through with 18 points and 10 rebounds for LA. Lamar Odom and Ron Artest produced 15 and 13, respectively. “We won but we didn’t play well, and that bothers me a little bit,” said Artest. “If we have a loss and play well, that’s a different story. I guess it still feels better to get a win, even if it’s something like this. We’re still a good team, even on a night like this.”
Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with an impressive 23 points, 24 rebounds and five assists. Minnesota will hope to build from their efforts when they matchup with the Sacramento Kings tonight. “I think this was the best game we’ve played so far, despite the L at the end of the night,” said Love. “We got up to play the world champs and we went down with a fight. We played a lot better than we have played in the last four or five games.” The Lakers will next be challenged on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.