Kobe Bryant asked his coach to let the Los Angeles Lakers youngsters play through most of the second half and overtime against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night.
The Lakers fell 123-122 after the extra period but Bryant’s teammates appreciated the gesture as the Hollywood squad starts preparing for a life without Bryant, who will retire at the end of the season.
The Lakers had the 99-94 lead midway through the fourth quarter but the Timberwolves led by veteran Kevin Martin went on a 10-2 run to grab the advantage, 104-101 with over four minutes to go in the game. The Lakers came back thanks to clutch baskets from rookie guard D’Angelo Russell and forced the overtime at 114-all.
In the extra period, Martin, who scored a season-high 37 points and Andrew Wiggins scored the crucial baskets to give the Timberwolves just their third home win of the season. Wiggins had 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting while Karl-Anthony Towns posted a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds and added 3 blocked shots.
Bryant played just 25 minutes and scored 11 points but expectedly had the loudest cheers from the Minnesota crowd.
Russell finished with 23 points while Julius Randle had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds. Louis Williams started at shooting guard and ended up with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Lakers fell to 3-19 for the season with their latest loss and will face old-time rivals San Antonio Spurs on Friday. The Timberwolves snapped a four-game skid and will take on the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns on the road in their next two outings.