Saturday , Jan , 31 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – January 31

=== Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – January 31 ===

(Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Minnesota
Timberwolves, 97-84, on Friday at the Staples Center.

The Lakers placed All-Star guard Kobe Bryant on the injured list before the
game after he suffered a laceration on his right index finger that required
stitches. Bryant was reportedly injured while moving boxes.

In Bryant’s place, Kareem Rush scored 17 with seven rebounds and four assists
in the loss, but Los Angeles had a two-game win streak snapped. Shaquille
O’Neal, in his second game back after missing 12 with a strained right calf,
scored 22 with nine rebounds in 37 minutes.

Latrell Sprewell led the Timberwolves comeback with eight points during a 15-1
run, including a bucket that gave Minnesota a 59-57 lead with 2:37 remaining
in the third quarter.

The teams see-sawed after that until a 10-2 run in the fourth quarter, capped
by a pair of Sam Cassell free throws with 5:00 left, gave the Timberwolves an
82-75 lead.

Minnesota went ahead 90-80 on two free throws by Sprewell with 2:47 to play,
and the Lakers never threatened after that.

Rick Fox played seven minutes and didn’t score in his second game since
returning from the injured list after off-season foot surgery. The Lakers are
still without forward Karl Malone, whose right knee injury is expected to keep
him sideline until at least mid-March.

O’Neal has averaged 14.5 points and seven rebounds in the two games since
returning from his injury.

The Lakers are off until Sunday when they start a seven-game road trip in
Toronto against Vince Carter and the Raptors.