9:30 P.M. at L.A. Lakers • Staples Center •
Preview: The Timberwolves stopped a 22-game losing streak to the Lakers dating to 2007 with a 113-90 victory Nov. 10 at Staples Center. A victory would give the Wolves back-to-back victories over the Lakers for the first time since 2005. The prospect of doing so took a quantum leap when it was announced Thursday that Kobe Bryant, only six games into his return from a torn Achilles' tendon, would be lost for six weeks because of a fracture in his left knee. A victory would push the Wolves over the .500 mark for the first time since they had an 8-7 record before a 98-84 loss to the Pacers on Nov. 24.
Players to watch: Wolves F Kevin Love has averaged 30 points in his past six games. C Nikola Pekovic is coming off a 30-point performance vs. Portland. … Lakers F Nick Young is leading the Lakers in scoring (14.9 ppg), with aging C Pau Gasol (14.7) right behind him. The Lakers' biggest problem right now is the lack of an experienced, healthy point guard. Xavier Henry will start there Friday.
Numbers: The Lakers were 10-9 without Bryant to start the season. … Ricky Rubio had the Wolves' only triple-double of the season in the Wolves' victory over the Lakers on Nov. 10, getting 12 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.
Injuries: Wolves F Chase Budinger (knee surgery) and C Ronny Turiaf (elbow) are out. Lakers G Kobe Bryant (knee), G Steve Blake (right elbow), G Jordan Farmar (left hamstring) and G Steve Nash (back) are out. C Chris Kaman (back spasms) is probable.