EditorsNote: fixes Kuzma FG attempts in 3rd graf; minor edits throughout
Kyle Kuzma broke loose with 20 points, all in the first half, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame the absence of leading scorer Anthony Davis for an easy 127-91 victory Sunday night over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
LeBron James added 18 points and nine rebounds while playing just three quarters as Davis sat out with a right-calf contusion. The Lakers have won consecutive games in convincing fashion after a season-opening defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Kuzma, who averaged 12.8 points a game last season and did not score more than 15 points in either of the Lakers’ first two games this season, reached his 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting in the opening two quarters, making 4 of 6 attempts from 3-point range.
Rookie Anthony Edwards scored 15 points and Naz Reid added 11 as the Timberwolves were unable to overcome the absence of leading rebounder and third-leading scorer Karl-Anthony Towns, who dislocated his wrist late in a road victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
The Timberwolves also lost forward Josh Okogie in the first half with cramping in his left leg.
Los Angeles got off to a hot start, leading by as many as 20 points in the first quarter while shooting 71.4 percent (15 of 21) from the field. The Lakers extended the advantage to as many as 26 points in the second quarter and held a 67-45 advantage at the half.
The Timberwolves shot just 35.1 percent (20 of 57) from the field in the first half and 13.6 percent (3 of 22) from 3-point range. The Lakers cooled off slightly in the second quarter and shot 56.2 percent (27 of 48) from the field in the first half, while shooting 55.6 percent (50 of 90) for the game.
The Lakers reached 100 points in the final minute of the third quarter and entered the fourth period with a 103-67 advantage.
Jake Layman was the only other Minnesota player in double figures with 10 points as the Timberwolves lost for the first time after opening with victories over the Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz. Minnesota was playing on consecutive nights for the first time this season.
Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker each scored 12 points as the Lakers played the first game of a back-to-back scenario at home. Los Angeles will face the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday before playing its first road game of the season Wednesday against San Antonio.
–Field Level Media