Kobe scoreless as T-Wolves stun Lakers in London
LONDON – NBA star Kobe Bryant went scoreless on Monday night, playing only 6 minutes as his 2010 champion Los Angeles Lakers were defeated 111-92 by a younger, hungrier Minnesota Timberwolves in a pre-season match in London.
Minnesota's Martell Webster came off the bench to lead all players with 24 points, while teammate Michael Beasley scored 21.
Lakers' forward Lamar Odom led his team with 17 points while Shannon Brown added 13.
"Our guys played well, but we didn't see (the Lakers') top players tonight," said Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis.
Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said he would play Bryant a maximum of 15 minutes in each of the team's two European matches this week as his star guard Bryant recovered from offseason knee surgery.
Minnesota was ahead 56-55 at the half, but pulled away in the third quarter on a 13-3 scoring run.
"Minnesota looked good; we looked like we just got back from vacation," Jackson said in a post-game press conference.
Although the sellout crowd at London's O2 Arena was treated to several high-flying acrobatic displays, including a one-handed slam dunk by the Lakers center Pau Gasol, they chanted throughout the game's second half for Bryant to return.
"I wanted to get up and get back in, but at that point my shoes were unlaced and my knee was frozen," Bryant told reporters. "Coach Rambis gave me a big hug and thanked me for not playing," he joked.
The Lakers will play FC Barcelona in the Spanish city on October 7 while the Timberwolves take on the New York Knicks in Paris on October 6.
The Knicks beat Armani Jeans Milan 125-113 on Sunday, the first game in this year's four-game NBA Europe pre-season tour.