In 1960, the Minneapolis Lakers packed their short shorts, set shots and Chuck Taylors and moved to Los Angeles.

A mere 63 years later, Minnesota basketball fans can begin the recovery process.

Thursday night at Target Center, the Minnesota Timberwolves faced the carpet-bagging Lakers at Target Center, and in a rare and historic moment, could offer proof that they have the better team and the better plan.

While the Wolves have spent much of their history competing to be the worst franchise in the history of major American professional sports, the L.A. Lakers have become synonymous with bling — championship rings and celebrity jewelry flashing for the courtside cameras. At least the Wolves had that one guy who slapped his program on the court.

Even the Wolves' one superior season — their playoff run in 2004 — ended in a six-game loss in the Western Conference finals to the Lakers.

Thanks to the Wolves' excellence this season, for once a head-to-head comparison between the teams doesn't leave older Minnesotans feeling nostalgic about Slater Martin tossing a lob pass to George Mikan.

Start with the obvious. The Wolves couldn't wait to get rid of D'Angelo Russell, whom they benched during a playoff series. The Lakers eagerly accepted him…then benched him during a playoff series.

Russell is playing at a career-worst level this month, and the Wolves traded him for two of the top eight players on a team that has the best record in the Western Conference: point guard and leader Mike Conley, and the valuable Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

Look at the teams' stars. LeBron James might be the greatest player who ever lived, and he continues to excel as he nears his 39th birthday, but the Lakers are so dependent on James that he has been playing more than 34 minutes a night on average.

That's more than any Timberwolf. Minnesota star Anthony Edwards leads the Wolves with exactly 34 minutes a game, and he's 22.

The Lakers are dependent on the aged James and the inconsistent Anthony Davis. James was given the night off on Thursday after the Lakers lost in Chicago on Wednesday night, the Lakers' third straight loss.

The Wolves have one of the best records in the NBA and lead the Western Conference. The Lakers entered Thursday's game as the No. 8 seed.

The Wolves have the better roster, and have their best players — Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels — locked into long-term contracts. The Lakers' plan is for LeBron to undergo an experimental cell-replacement surgery their team doctors are about to invent.

The Lakers believe in load management — resting stars to keep them fresh. The Wolves' coaching staff and players believe in playing. No Wolves were given the night off on Thursday, even though they played a difficult game in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

"We wanted to try to create an identity, and wanted that to be part of our identity," Finch said. "I think it leads to resilience, mental toughness, the ability to bounce back."

Thursday night, the Wolves announced that this game had produced the largest revenue of any game in franchise history.

"Ticket prices are higher than ever," Wolves coach Chris Finch said with a smile. "No, it's been fun. It's fun to watch you grow year over year. It's been exciting, and now we're getting consistent results. People like to watch this team play, which is what we always set out to do — you know, give them a product that they like, and appreciate. We certainly appreciate their support."

Give the Lakers credit: they summoned enough energy to win the NBA's inaugural in-season tournament. Lakers coach Darvin Ham said his team is still recovering from that ordeal, and a difficult travel schedule, which sounds like an excuse beneath such a rich and ambitious franchise.

Add in the Wolves' 118-111 victory Thursday night, and just 63 years after the Lakers left Minneapolis, Minnesotan basketball fans can finally say they have the better team, without laughing or crying.

Correction: A previous version of this column misspelled the first name of Lakers coach Darvin Ham.