3 things to watch for vs. the Los Angeles Lakers


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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 26: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off of an embarrassing home loss on Friday night and need a win against LeBron James and the Lakers on Monday at Target Center.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are just 2-4 and are in desperate need of a win on Monday if they want to avoid watching their season spiral out of control with more than three weeks to go before Thanksgiving.

Monday night’s tilt against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are also 2-4, is arguably their most winnable game in the next 10 days. The Wolves play Utah at home on Wednesday before embarking on a West Coast swing that includes games at Golden State, Portland, both L.A. teams, and Sacramento, the latter of which figures to be the only matchup in which Minnesota can expect to be favored during that stretch.

The Wolves have been off since Friday’s cringe-worthy home loss to Milwaukee. The Lakers are 1-2 on the road and coming off of a close loss to the Spurs in San Antonio on Saturday night.

The Lakers starting lineup has been in flux due to early season suspensions to Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram following their dust-up with Chris Paul and the Rockets. Ingram is scheduled to return on Monday, but Rondo did not start upon his return to the lineup and it’s unknown whether or not Lakers coach Luke Walton will allow Ingram to reclaim his starting role immediately, either.

L.A. will have to deal with a bit of shuffling, and the Wolves can hope that the sudden reinsertion of Ingram and Rondo is enough to throw them off, even if only a little bit.

LeBron James has played as expected, averaging 27.3 points, 9 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the floor. JaVale McGee has been great, putting up 15.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and three blocked shots per game.

The second-leading scorer for the Lakers is Kyle Kuzma, who has started in four of the team’s six games and is averaging 19.5 points per game on 46 percent shooting despite hitting on just 28.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Let’s take a look at what the Wolves will have to do in order to escape with a win against The King and Co. on Monday night.

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