As the season is coming to a close, the Los Angeles Lakers are surprisingly playing the best basketball of the year even after shutting down their veterans Nick Young, Timofey Mozgov, and Luol Deng and trading Lou Williams at the deadline. The young guys have been playing some inspiring basketball, which has resulted in some recent wins.

On Sunday evening, the Lakers hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves, two teams that have long been eliminated from playoff contention and are merely playing for pride. However, the Lakers do have something at stake, which is their first-round pick.

The Philadelphia 76ers currently own Los Angeles’ first-round pick, but it is top-three protected. Nonetheless, the Lakers have been all about winning.

Russell’s game-winning three

In Sunday’s game, they possessed an early 16-point lead, which was quickly erased by Minnesota, setting up for an entertaining second half. The two teams played each other very closely until final horn when D’Angelo Russell knocked down an amazing game-winning three. The ball rolled out of the rim and then back in to give the Lakers an 110-109 victory.

Russell truly has ‘ice in the veins,’ adding another cold-blooded game winner to his resume.

He finished the contest with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. However, Tyler Ennis led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points and five assists off the bench in 23 minutes on 7-of-9 shooting. The young point guard has been a pleasant addition to the team, playing the best basketball of his career.

Jordan Clarkson chipped in with 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Meanwhile, Julius Randle had 13 points and eight rebounding, including a crucial late-game dunk that helped set up Russell’s game-winner. Larry Nance Jr. had one of the best all-around performances in his career, putting up 10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and a steal on 5-of-7 shooting.

For Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 81 of the team’s 109 points.

Wiggins had 41 points and two rebounds, while Towns had a monstrous stat line of 40 points, 21 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block on a very efficient 17-of-22 shooting from the field. The next highest scorers for the Timberwolves were Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad with 12 points apiece.

The Lakers have now won four consecutive games to improve their record to 25-55, which is currently the third-worst record in the league. The Timberwolves dropped to 31-49, as they have lost four in a row.

Looking ahead

Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday. The Lakers will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans at home. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves will host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.