The Los Angeles Lakers started 2022 with a win as LeBron James and Malik Monk forced their way against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-103.

James, Monk, Anthony Spark Lakers Offense Against Timberwolves

The first test of the year was not the one the Lakers thought that they would get considering their opponents on the court. The Minnesota Timberwolves missed their big man Karl Anthony Towns after he was listed under NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Wolves guard D'Angelo Russell was also not available in their game in Arena.

According to Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Lakers was not able to capitalize on the absence of KAT in the paint as they were only able to grab half of the 56 total rebounds of the Timberwolves. However, LeBron James, Malik Monk, and Carmelo Anthony came up big as they secured the first win of the year for the purple and gold squad.

Towns' backup, Naz Reid, beat up the Lakers in the interior possession after possession. The Lakers' 10-point lead totally disappeared after the Wolves forced their game late in the game.

Despite facing an opponent with an interior player that they could not stop, the Lakers' continued to play small, grasping on to the first real success on the identity that they've managed so far this season.

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Center LeBron James Gives LA Lakers Their First Win This Year

The absence of Anthony Davis due to an MCL sprain in his left knee prompted LA Lakers head coach, Frank Vogel, and his team to place their main man LeBron James at the center position.

The Lakers' team was reliant on LeBron James more than ever, as he is now playing the center position.

The decision of James in switching onto the Timberwolves young center changed the game just enough to help the Lakers inch back toward .500.

Despite the stop in his 30-point games streak, James provided the Lakers with just enough interior presence to survive in a 108-103 win at home. The Lakes were out-rebounded exactly 2-to-1 in terms of ratio.

James scored 26 to go with seven rebounds and five assists in the Lakers' second-straight win. James was a key reason Reid did not score any of his 23 points in the fourth period where the Wolves needed it the most.

The Lakers were still not able to solve the turnovers of Russell Westbrook. The LA native guard was a negative most of the time in their first game of the year. The ball either slipped off his fingers or fired waywardly off his hands.

Despite the turnovers of Westbrook, the Lakers survived those minutes because of strong offensive nights from Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, and another veteran Carmelo Anthony. The balance in the Lakers' offense put them at the .500.

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Written by: Jess Smith