LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Kelly scored 21 points, rookie Jabari Brown added 20 points and seven assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 106-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Each of the Lakers’ starters scored in double figures, including rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson, who had 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Tarik Black added 18 points and 10 rebounds in a matchup of teams among the bottom four in the league.
Point guard Jeremy Lin was sidelined by a sore left knee, and Lakers coach Byron Scott sat Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill and Wayne Ellington in order to give some of his other players more minutes as the club continues to evaluate where they stand for next season.
Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points and fellow rookie Zach LaVine added 18 for the Timberwolves (16-63), who have lost nine straight.
The Lakers (21-58), who have already set a franchise record for losses, increased a five-point halftime lead to 70-54 with an 18-7 run that included three baskets by Kelly from 3-point range.
Minnesota closed to 80-71 on LaVine’s two free throws with 44 seconds left in the third, but the Lakers came out strong again in the fourth quarter with a 12-4 spurt that widened the gap to 92-75 with 8:07 to play. During that run, Clarkson made a behind-the-back pass to Brown for a fast-break layup.
LaVine, who scored a career-high 28 points against the Lakers on Nov. 28 in Minnesota’s 120-119 victory, hit back-to-back 3-pointers 27 seconds apart to slice the margin to 93-83 with 6:08 remaining. But Wesley Johnson responded with a short jumper, and Black scored six points in the final 3:34 to help seal the win.
Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett, who turns 39 next month, did not play for the 16th consecutive game because of a sore left knee. The last time he took the court against the Lakers was Nov. 27, 2013, when he had four points and nine rebounds for the Nets in a 99-94 loss at Brooklyn. … Minnesota has won only two of its last 18 games — both in OT. The Timberwolves haven’t won in regulation since beating Portland at home on March 7. … The Timberwolves were 31 for 34 on free throws, converting their first 15 before Adreian Payne missed his second one with 9:38 left in the third quarter.
Lakers: Clarkson was presented with his NBA rookie of the month award for March by Scott at midcourt during the pregame warmups. … The only other time the Lakers missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons was 1974-75 and 1975-76, when they were a combined 70-94. Since the start of last season, they are 48-113. … This will be the fourth time since the NBA draft lottery was instituted in 1985 that the Lakers will be involved. They selected Eddie Jones in 1994 (10th overall), Andrew Bynum in 2005 (10th overall) and Julius Randle last year. Randle, the seventh overall pick out of Kentucky, hasn’t played since breaking his right leg in a season-opening loss to Houston.
Timberwolves: At Golden State on Saturday night.
Lakers: Host Dallas on Sunday night.
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