LOS ANGELES (AP) – LeBron James had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Kyle Kuzma scored six of his 21 points in the final minutes of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Josh Hart scored 21 points and Brandon Ingram added 20 for the Lakers, who avenged a loss at Minnesota nine days earlier with a tenacious finish at Staples Center.
Kuzma’s fourth 3-pointer put the Lakers up 111-104 with 1:51 to play for their biggest lead of the night. Derrick Rose promptly hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Wolves, trimming the lead to one with 1:06 left.
Kuzma hit one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left after two huge offensive rebounds by Tyson Chandler, who had nine boards in an auspicious Lakers debut. Rose missed a 3 under heavy defensive pressure from Chandler, and Hart hit two free throws to seal it.
Rose scored 31 points and Jimmy Butler added 24 for the Timberwolves, who dropped to 0-7 on the road this season with their fourth consecutive loss overall. Minnesota had won five straight over the Lakers.
James fell just shy of his 75th triple-double, but scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
Chandler signed with his hometown team on Tuesday, shortly after the 18-year veteran big man reached a buyout agreement with Phoenix. He immediately provided defense, rebounding and hard picks – all areas of need for the Lakers – while playing a surprising 23 minutes.
Minnesota came out in an offensive groove during its second straight game at Staples Center following Monday’s loss to the Clippers.
All five Wolves starters reached double figures in the first half while hitting 66 percent of their shots. Rose and Wiggins hit three 3-pointers apiece and all five starters contributed to an 11-for-17 performance beyond the arc, tying the franchise record for 3s in a first half.
But the Lakers didn’t get humiliated in the first quarter, as they did last Sunday in their loss to Toronto. Hart hit four 3-pointers in the first half, and Kuzma hit a buzzer-beating 3 to limit Minnesota’s lead to 67-65.
Timberwolves: Butler converted a four-point play to tie it at 94 with 7:44 to play. … Coach Tom Thibodeau used the same starting lineup from Monday’s loss to the Clippers.
Lakers: Chandler grew up in several parts of California before moving to Compton, where he starred at Dominguez High School and became the No. 2 pick in the 2001 NBA draft. … JaVale McGee had 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Timberwolves: At the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Lakers: At the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
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