Patrick Beverley and the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t just beat the Lakers on Wednesday night.
They had a ton of fun talking trash doing it.
The Timberwolves handed the Lakers another big loss at Target Center on Wednesday. After jumping out to a 25-point lead midway through the second quarter, Minnesota cruised to a 124-104 win, marking its ninth victory in 10 games.
Beverley and his teammates made sure the Lakers knew they were getting beaten, too. Just before halftime, Beverley came up with a big steal off Russell Westbrook, then clearly called him “garbage” after play stopped at the other end.
Beverley then started taunting LeBron James and yelling in his face before he playfully punched him in the side.
However, James did not seem happy.
The antics did not stop there. Late in the fourth quarter, Westbrook blasted a corner shot wide of the air. Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who caught the ball almost effortlessly, had the perfect reaction.
Towns finished the night with 30 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter, and Anthony Edwards scored 27 while shooting six from behind the arc.
“I like the fact that we’re confident. I like the fact that we play with a lot of emotion,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. via Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We also have to realize that we also have to grow up a little bit and act like we’ve been there before because we have. So far this season we have.”
James led the Lakers with 19 points in the loss but shot just 1 of 8 from 3-point range. Westbrook finished with 15 points and five assists, shooting just 5 of 12 from the field.
As a team, the Lakers shot just 22.2% from behind the arc and were outrebounded by 13.
Though it seemed to bother them at the time, both James and Westbrook insisted afterward that they weren’t bothered by Wednesday night’s trash talk. James simply said “it’s part of the game.”
Westbrook, however, has a slightly different mindset.
“Honestly, I don’t pay attention to it, maybe other guys…they weren’t talking to me,” Westbrook said, via Spectrum SportsNet. They were talking to individual guys in particular, but the trash talk doesn’t bother me. Nobody there has done anything in this league that makes me look up like, ‘Oh, they’re talking, I need to respond.’ Not well.”
While that may be so — Westbrook is a former league MVP, after all — the Timberwolves are playing much, much better than Westbrook and the Lakers right now. They are 11 full games ahead of the Lakers in the Western Conference standings, and the Lakers have lost 12 of their last 15 contests.
That has to give them at least a little credibility.