James, Monk help Lakers edge Timberwolves 108-103

Jan 2, 2022, 7:02 AM | Updated: 10:20 pm
Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, center, drives between Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jay...

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, center, drives between Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell, left, and forward Jaden McDaniels during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 26 points, Malik Monk added 22 and the Los Angeles Lakers hung on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-103 on Sunday night for the first time in three meetings this season.

A couple of streaks came to an end in the Lakers’ first game of the new year: James’ run of seven straight games with at least 30 points and Russell Westbrook’s stretch of four straight triple-doubles. Westbrook finished with 20 points, three rebounds, five assists and nine of the Lakers’ 28 turnovers.

“We did a good job of holding our own, gutting it out,” said Westbrook, who had just one turnover in the second half.

Naz Reid led the Wolves with season highs of 23 points, making 10 of 17 from the floor, and 11 rebounds, the first 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds effort of his career. Jaylen Nowell added 17 points off the bench.

The Lakers (19-19) climbed back to .500, with their 30-something veterans carrying them in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony scored five in a row to help erase a four-point deficit. Clinging to a one-point lead in the final minutes, Anthony hit a 3-pointer, got fouled and made the free throw. He finished with 14 points.

“He’s done a great job for us all year,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s brought a great deal of basketball integrity to our team, making sure guys are playing the right way offensively.”

Asked his definition of basketball integrity, Anthony joked, “Frank be using words.”

Then Anthony explained that it’s about his love of the game.

“It’s my commitment to the game and being better to myself and my teammates,” he said. “That role is going to change night in and night out. I’m still motivated.”

Avery Bradley beat the shot clock to extend the Lakers’ lead to 105-100. Monk made one basket in the fourth — a 3-pointer — as the only Laker under age 30 to score in the period.

The Lakers ended last year with a 33-point rout of Portland only to start the new year being challenged throughout by the Wolves, who dropped their third in a row and fifth of six.

“We’re playing good basketball of late,” James said. “Even with some of the losses we’ve had, we’re still trending in the right direction.”

The Wolves won the teams’ first two meetings by 24 and 18 points, with James missing the second game.

Anthony Edwards scored 18 points for the Wolves in his return from reconditioning after being in COVID-19 protocols.

The teams traded leads throughout the fourth, with neither leading by more than seven. The Lakers got sloppy down the stretch. James lost the ball while double-teamed down low.

But they caught a few breaks, too. The Wolves were limited to one basket by Edwards in the final minute after he missed others and turned the ball over late.

“We’re not here solely just to develop talent,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “We’re trying to win these games.”

Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run early in the third that gave Minnesota a six-point lead.

The Lakers ran off 10 straight points, including five by Monk, to take a 76-72 lead. But the Wolves closed on an 8-2 spurt to lead 80-78 going into the fourth.

The Lakers blew all of a 10-point lead in the second, allowing a 9-0 run by the Wolves that tied it 45-all. Reid scored 11 points in the quarter, including back-to-back dunks, and his three-point play left the Wolves trailing 57-54 at the break.


Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are close to getting out of the league’s health and safety protocols and could return later this week.

Lakers: James played in his 1,336th NBA game, passing Gary Payton for 16th on the career list. … Rajon Rondo is inactive and wasn’t with the team. The four-time All-Star guard is expected to be shipped to Cleveland in exchange for guard Denzel Valentine once the deal is approved by the NBA.


Timberwolves: Stay in LA to play the Clippers on Monday and complete the back-to-back.

Lakers: Host Sacramento on Tuesday.


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A person wears a mask while walking past a flower display in front of a supermarket on Front Street...
Associated Press

Canada won’t require masks on planes, drops vaccine mandate

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government announced Monday it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to guard against COVID-19.. Transport Canada said the existing rules for masks will come off Oct. 1 “We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated,” […]
1 day ago
United States' Kelsey Plum, right, and China's Li Meng compete for the ballduring their game at the...
Associated Press

China eyeing a medal for first time in 28 years

SYDNEY (AP) — It’s been 28 years since China last won a medal at the World Cup, finishing second in the 1994 games. With a dominant inside presence, led by Han Xu and Li Yueru, plus talented shooters and quick guards, the Chinese team has gotten off to a strong start in Australia and could […]
1 day ago
FILE - Jimmie Johnson sits in his pit box before the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto r...
Associated Press

AP Exclusive: Jimmie Johnson to retire from full-time racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing and will turn his focus toward spending time with family. He figures his future schedule will include no more than 10 bucket-list events, but the 47-year-old had no idea Monday what that schedule will look like. Johnson told The Associated Press […]
1 day ago
Australia's Sami Whitcomb reacts after shooting a goal during their game at the women's Basketball ...
Associated Press

Australia hands Canada its first loss of World Cup, 75-72

SYDNEY (AP) — Ezi Magbegor had 16 points and five blocks to help Australia beat Canada 75-72 on Monday night in the women’s World Cup. The win caused a log-jam atop Group B with Australia, Canada and France all with three wins with one game left for each team. “We knew coming into this it […]
1 day ago
FILE - NFC tight end George Kittle, right, of the San Francisco 49ers, catches a pass in front of A...
Associated Press

NFL ends Pro Bowl; skills competitions, flag game instead

The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game, The Associated Press has learned. The new event will replace the full-contact showcase started in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani flies out during the first inning of the team's baseball game agai...
Associated Press

Ohtani vs. Judge the latest of baseball’s great MVP races

When Shohei Ohtani is pitching impressively and hitting over 30 homers, he might always be the MVP favorite unless another player in his league comes up with something awfully special. Like hitting 60 home runs, for example. Ohtani vs. Aaron Judge for the American League MVP figures to be the most hotly debated postseason award […]
1 day ago
James, Monk help Lakers edge Timberwolves 108-103