Kobe Bryant had almost as many assists (nine) as points (11) in the first half tonight. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol also scored 11 points as the Lakers led most of the way over the Timberwolves. Kevin Love, a former UCLA standout, scored 12 points in a reserve role to lead Minnesota. This was Kurt Rambis’ second trip back to Staples Center to face the Lakers, the team for which he played and coached. The Lakers and Timberwolves play for the third and final time this season next month in Minneapolis. The Lakers need a victory tonight plus a win by the Boston Celtics over the Houston Rockets in order to clinch a playoff berth. The Celtics beat the Rockets, 94-87.