Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

All out of love: Wolves lose 104-85 to Lakers in LA

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves postgame, Wolves news Updated: March 1, 2012 - 10:55 AM

Kobe Bryant plays and nearly delivers a triple-double and Kevin Love does not (play, that is).

How many times do you get a chance to reference Air Supply in a Wolves blog?

Well, three times this season so far.

Kevin Love missed his third game -- the other two were that NBA suspension -- while Kobe Bryant was cleared to play with that broken nose and healed concussion.

He nearly delivered a triple double -- 31 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds -- while playing nearly 33 minutes with a plastic, protective mask that he was none too thrilled to wear.

He said he felt like he started sweating immediately after he put it on.

"It was kind of a like a sauna on my face," he said. "I was drinking my own sweat and it was disgusting."

It was kind of striking tonight that Bryant played after passing another neurologist's test not long before game time while Love was out sick.

Someone asked Bryant about the influence he has on teammates by playing through all sort of injuries during his career.

“The message that it carries with it is that ‘I’m not going to back down,’ type of attitude," he said. "If you’re capable of playing, you should be out there and you should play. I think that’s the kind of competitive edge that I want my guys to play with.”

Here's the final version of the game story from tonight's loss, which, at a 19-point final margin, was statistically  the Wolves' worst of the season.

Some other things from the game:

* That 27-point, fourth-quarter deficit also was their biggest of the season.

* J.J. Barea played fewer than 10 minutes and never played again after halftime because of a strained calf.

He noticeably limped out of the arena afterward and said, "I don't know" when I asked him how bad he thought the injury was or wasn't.

* Derrick Williams said he didn't know Love wasn't playing until he looked over at his locker room just before the game and he wasn't there.

"You can't say it's his fault," Williams said. "It's our fault we didn't play to the level we're supposed to play at."

For more from Williams, here's some postgame video of him in the locker room.

* After surpassing .500 for the second time this season with Tuesday's victory, the Wolves fell back to .500 at 18-18 with the loss.

* Rick Adelman bristled again pregame when I asked when he might change the lineup to prevent these double-digit deficits.

He stayed with the same starters -- subbing Williams for Love, though -- in the first half and the Wolves fell behind 26-11.

He made an adjustment at halftime, starting Martell Webster (or Marty, as Adelman calls him) instead of Luke Ridnour to give the Wolves a bigger backcourt against Bryant and World Metta Peace.

Then the Lakers opened the 2nd half by scoring nine straight points.

* Love's absence opened the way for Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Wayne Ellington to see some meaningful time after sitting mostly for the last weeks.

Randolph had 12 and 9 in nearly 19 minutes. Tolliver and Ellington each played closer to 12 minutes.

Ricky Rubio struggled with his shot again, 1 for 8 for the second straight night.

He had nine assists, but doesn't have a double-digit assist game since Feb. 7

Afterward, I asked him if he felt like he was hitting that rookie wall and he said no, adding he just had two bad games.

That's all from L.A. tonight.

The Wolves flew to Phoenix after the game and finish this second and final set of three games in three nights Thursday night against the Suns, who, like the Lakers tonight, play their first post-All Star break game against a Wolves team that now will be playing yet another night against a rested opponent.

I'll check in with you from Phoenix pregame, with an update on Love's health and other stuff.

 

 

 

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