Reid scores 31, Timberwolves beat Lakers 127-117 without LeBron James, Anthony Davis.

Los Angeles -Naz Reid scored 31 points and nailed six 3-pointers as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers 127-117 on Sunday night thanks to LeBron James' absence and Anthony Davis' early exit with an eye injury.  

With Anthony Edwards' 26 points, the Timberwolves tied Denver for the Western Conference lead at 54-24 with their seventh win in nine games. Minnesota took advantage of a rare opportunity to beat the Lakers, who played most of the night without its superstars. James missed his 11th NBA game of his 21st season due to flu-like symptoms. Kyle Anderson smacked Davis in the face while scoring a tip-in basket late in the first quarter, sending Davis to the locker room.  

The nine-time All-Star didn't return, and Lakers coach Darvin Ham would not comment on his status. Davis was whacked again in his left eye, which was damaged last month against Golden State.  

“Obviously, we caught a break there,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. A 46-point second quarter by Minnesota broke open a tight game without Davis in the middle. The supporting cast of Los Angeles kept it close in the third, but Rudy Gobert scored six of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Minnesota hung on. Gobert grabbed 16 rebounds.  

Offensively, we were playing the right way,” said 15-pointer Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Because of their short defense, everything opened up, and we kept making the right play. In the last stretch, Naz made significant plays. Ant read correctly. Our talent really came through and made shots and plays.”

After its worst offensive performance of the season in Phoenix last Friday, Minnesota rebounded to potentially earn the No. 1 West seed for the second time in team history. Minnesota travels to Denver on Wednesday for the second game of a back-to-back against the defending NBA champion Nuggets.  

“I think all year it’s been a goal for us,” Reid said of the No. 1 seed. We crave that and talk about it often. We want the standings to favor us, therefore we must go out and win.” In their second loss in 11 games, the Lakers lost after four straight wins with Rui Hachimura scoring 30 points. After rising to eighth on Saturday for the first time since late December, Los Angeles dropped back to ninth in the ultracompetitive West.  

“It's tough already being without Bron, and then seeing (Davis) go out,” Ham said. But I applaud our guys. Neither felt sorry for themselves. They competed throughout. We had some bad possessions offensively. Guys exhausted after an 11-day road trip with six games return home to a 12:30 game Saturday.”  

Lakers backup big man Jaxson Hayes scored a season-high 19 points and 10 assists in 33 minutes without Davis, while Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points and seven assists. In a crucial game for Los Angeles, D'Angelo Russell missed 14 of 19 shots and finished with 15 points and 11 assists.  

After Davis left, Minnesota raced to a 79-64 halftime advantage with Reid scoring 18 points in the second quarter. Reid, who had 11 rebounds, scored 46 points in the Wolves' two previous games against the Lakers. “I just stand out in the lights,” Reid said. I'm sorry. No idea. I just compete, and it was on TV.” Along with James, the Lakers rested backup point guard Gabe Vincent, who returned from a long injury four games earlier.  

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