The Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight for their 11th victory in 12 games since the All-Star break. It remains to be seen whether Kobe Bryant or Andrew Bynum will be available to play when they try for their 12th win in 13 games on Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers. Bryant, who already had a sprained left ankle, got an accidental head-butt from Minnesota’s Martell Webster late in the game. Bynum got ejected after thumping the Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley to the floor midway through the fourth quarter. Beasley suffered a bruised left hip in the fall.
Bryant could sit out to rest and recover. Bynum could be given a suspension.
“It was my jaw,” Bryant said, “but my jaw is fine. I can take a hit. It was just that my neck snapped back. My neck is pretty stiff right now. (The ankle) was OK. It was a little stiff, so I had to stretch it out a little bit. It was all right. … I’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
Bynum left Staples Center without speaking to reporters.
“He committed a hard foul,” Bryant said of Bynum. “He did what a big guy is supposed to do, protect the paint.”
Pau Gasol scored 25 points for the Lakers, including the go-ahead jump shot that made it 95-94. Bryant scored 18 points, Shannon Brown had 14 and Bynum scored10 points and grabbed a team-leading 14 rebounds. He has scored 10 or more points in five consecutive games and taken 12 or more rebounds in seven in a row.
Wesley Johnson scored 29 for Minnesota.