LOS ANGELES – What’s that they say about all good things?
Well, apparently it’s true about the bad things, too.
The Timberwolves’ 113-90 victory that ended a 22-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers proved as much Sunday night.
The Wolves hadn’t beaten the Lakers since a double-overtime game in March 2007 and hadn’t beaten the Lakers in Staples Center since December 2005.
“And we broke some streak,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman deadpanned after he again rode his starters hard for long minutes before easing up in fourth-quarter blowout time. “I’m glad that’s over with. We don’t have to talk about it.”
The Wolves set a franchise record for most points in a quarter by scoring 47 in the first. They led by 28 before the game was 11 minutes old, and point guard Ricky Rubio delivered his second career triple-double with a 12 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Wolves never let the once-mighty Lakers get closer than 14 after the hot start, and that was at the third quarter’s end, before the visitors started the fourth with a 14-4 run that sent Andy Garcia headed for the exits early while fellow actor Jack Nicholson leaned back in his courtside seat, apparently settled in for a long winter’s nap.
The only Hollywood guy who seemingly didn’t go home early was Lakers star Pau Gasol, who remained on the floor until the final buzzer.
The 23-point margin of victory was the Wolves’ biggest ever against the Lakers. They have started a season 5-2 for the fifth time in the franchise’s 25 seasons.
“We knew how hard it is to win against the Lakers,” Rubio said. “We had lost 22 or something like that. We didn’t talk about it, but it’s something people talk about. We don’t want to be a losing team, 22 games is a lot. It can’t happen.”
The Wolves reversed plenty of recent history with another explosive first quarter, an unexpected trademark in this very young season after they struggled with that in preseason play.
Their 47 first-quarter points surpassed the previous franchise record by a point, most recently held with 46 in a quarter vs. the New Jersey Nets in December 1997. It was three points shy of the NBA’s record for most points in a first quarter.
The Wolves again started by making shots seemingly from everywhere and with Kevin Love again snapping ridiculous outlet passes ahead to teammates Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer, including one that must have traveled 85 feet to Brewer for a lay-in and was even better than most of Love’s freakish outlet passes.
And that’s saying something.
And they did it with everybody else, particularly Rubio, pushing the ball at every turn against an aging Lakers team that looked even older without injured superstar Kobe Bryant.
“He had a triple-double? I knew he was playing well,” Love said of Rubio. “Not that the game was really close, but when they started to get on some runs, he made some big threes.”
The Wolves made seven of nine three-pointers and 16 of 21 field-goal attempts in the first quarter. Their Kevins, Martin and Love, combined for six threes and 34 points.
By doing do, they became the first Wolves duo since the 1995-96 season to each score 15 or more points in the same quarter.
“We are just a work in progress right now,” Adelman said. “We don’t know who we are. We haven’t done anything. We haven’t been healthy. Things are going so well, it’s almost easy, but I told them one time, ‘Hey, quit celebrating; the mark of who you are going to be is, are you going to continue to play with a purpose?’ ”