It was fitting that the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves of all teams Wednesday because their wildest stretch of the season to date -- and yes, this is taking into account the fists that flew against the Houston Rockets -- started just more than a week ago with a road loss to those very Wolves.
That loss wasn't just disturbing because of the way the Lakers failed to secure yet another close game down the stretch, or because they couldn't execute simple defensive instructions like fighting over screens to challenge Jimmy Butler's 3-pointers.
What was more problematic was the sense of a fractured spirit that was apparent from watching L.A. play from LeBron James on down.
Yes, it was a quick trigger by Lakers president Magic Johnson to dress down coach Luke Walton in a meeting only seven games into the season, and yes it made him come off as volatile and even worse, hypocritical, after preaching patience throughout the summer, but Walton got the message: Winning needs to happen. Now. And apparently management came to see the roster it built in a more realistic light. An upgrade was mandatory.
And so Wednesday's 114-110 win over the Wolves wasn't just significant because it was the Lakers' third victory in four games since that Walton-Johnson summit, and it wasn't just notable because L.A. outscored Minnesota 28-22 in the fourth quarter to earn a tight one.
It was monumental because closing out the game for the Lakers was their new acquisition at backup center, Tyson Chandler. The accomplished veteran with a championship, Olympic gold medal and Defensive Player of the Year trophy to his name was making his Lakers debut one day after officially signing with the team following a buyout agreement with the Phoenix Suns.