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Lakers Top Timberwolves, 106-98

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol netted 25 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers used a late run to finish off the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106- 98, at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant, hobbled by an ankle injury, shot just 6-of-17 from the field for 18 points for Los Angeles, which ended the game on a 13-4 spurt to win for the 11th time in 12 games.

Andrew Bynum had 10 points and 14 rebounds before getting ejected prior to the game-finishing flurry.

Wesley Johnson paced Minnesota with a career-high 29 points, while Kevin Love went for 15 points and 13 rebounds in the team's 15th straight loss to the Lakers.

The game was surprisingly tight throughout between the second-best team in the Western Conference -- the Lakers -- and the second worst.

Things got physical midway through the fourth quarter when Michael Beasley drove the right baseline and was greeted at the rim by Bynum.

Instead of going for the block, Bynum inserted his elbow into Beasley's chest, sending him to the hardwood with a thud. Beasley wobbled to his feet but clearly injured his hip and did not return after hitting two free throws. Bynum was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and may face a suspension from the NBA.

"[Bynum] was going to go block the shot, but he was too late ... He just gave up on the ball. He didn't do it in a way that was malicious. He just stopped Beasley's penetration, but Beasley fell hard," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said of the controversial foul.

After the technical freebies, the visitors led 89-88 with 6:16 to play and still led by one, 94-93, before the Lakers turned it on down the stretch.

Bryant later sprawled to the floor after his jaw hit the head of Minnesota's Martell Webster.

Gasol put in a jumper with 3:35 showing for the last of 16 lead chances. Bryant's runner followed, Lamar Odom tacked on a three-pointer for a 100-94 lead with 2:22 remaining, and the hosts held on from there.

"I thought it was good for our guys to see how rough and physical a game can be," Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis said. "That's a good thing for our learning experience."

Minnesota was on top, 27-21, following the first quarter and led by two, 51-49, at the break.

Bryant put the finishing touches on a back-and-fourth first stanza with five points in the last 66 seconds, giving LA a 78-74 edge heading to the final frame.

Minnesota has lost three straight overall...Shannon Brown contributed 14 points off the bench for the Lakers, who shot 48 percent from the field and 8- of-19 from three-point range...Beasley ended with 18 points and seven boards.


For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.