A week ago, the Los Angeles Lakers seemed to be coming together at the right time.
The team had been playing as well as anyone, other than the Miami Heat, since the All-Star Break. After months of being out of the playoff race, L.A. had firmly taken hold of the eight seed with just a month to go before the postseason. They were also getting healthy, with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returning from injury at the same time.
Now, the Lakers seem to be heading backwards.
Despite getting back two of their best players, Los Angeles has lost three in a row. They also have received news that one of their starters will likely miss the rest of the year.
Metta World Peace had been the only Lakers starter to not to sit out for several games with an injury. On Wednesday, it was announced that the forward would miss six weeks with a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. His projected recovery time will keep him out, at least, through the first round of the playoffs.
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L.A. has little time to digest the news as they are scheduled to visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The contest will tip off at 8 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
Minnesota will be playing their second game in two nights. They beat the Detroit Pistons by 23 points on Tuesday night. J.J. Barea lead the Timberwolves with 21 points off the bench o 8-11 shooting.
Without the injured Kevin Love, Minnesota has struggled to remain competitive. They are 19 games under .500 after starting the season at 16-15.
The Lakers are 2-0 against the Timberwolves in 2013. Both wins came by double-digits. Los Angeles dominated the glass in both contests, outrebounding Minnesota by a total of 106-75. L.A. won the first game easily, despite the absence of Dwight Howard.
Gasol led the Lakers on Feb. 1, registering 22 points and 10 rebounds. Bryant was the main catalyst for the second win, scoring 33 points on 13-22 shooting.
Betting Line: Los Angeles-4.5, 203
Prediction: Los Angeles 109, Minnesota 97