The Los Angeles Lakers looked to have a mismatch on their hands tonight in the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the first half was a closely fought affair. After the first 24 minutes of play, the Lakers lead Timberwolves 58-52. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points in 17 minutes, and personally outscored Minnesota 8-2 in the final 1:19 of the second quarter after the Timberwolves tied the game at 50-50. Bryant made nine of 15 field goals, including one of two from beyond the arc.
Kevin Love leads Minnesota with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. The Lakers shot 50% in the first half, compared to 43.8% for Minnesota. The Timberwolves outrebounded the Lakers 25-22, thanks in part to Love, who had eight offensive rebounds and already has his sixth double-double of the season.
The Lakers struggled in the first quarter after building a 17-9 lead with 5:13 to play in the opening frame. Minnesota finished the quarter on a 19-9 run to take a two-point lead after the first quarter, the Timberwolves' first lead after the first 12 minutes this season. The Wolves made all five of their three-point attempts in the first quarter.
Earlier tonight, Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles reported that the Lakers would unveil a statue of Jerry West at Staples Center during All-Star weekend in February:
The statue will be the fifth to be erected at Staples Center and the third that is Lakers-related, following Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Oscar De La Hoya and broadcaster Chick Hearn.
For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.