The Los Angeles Lakers had seemingly turned a corner this week. They responded from a halfhearted effort against the Portland Trail Blazers with gutsy and “resilient” overtime wins (without LeBron James) against the upstart Charlotte Hornets and contending Miami Heat.
On Friday, in a 107-83 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center, the Lakers — out of nowhere — took multiple steps backward.
The Lakers started Anthony Davis at center (Wayne Ellington replaced DeAndre Jordan). Los Angeles played well in the first half. They raced out to a 26-19 lead after the first quarter and held a 49-44 advantage at halftime.
Then, shockingly, things crumbled.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Lakers’ alarmingly terrible early-season third-quarter track record. That issue subsided for a handful of games, but reared its ugly head on Friday, as it did in Portland.