Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Malik Beasley is excited to face his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, in the 7-8 play-in game.
Beasley says he, D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt are out for revenge.
The Timberwolves traded Beasley and Vanderbilt to the Utah Jazz last summer in the blockbuster Rudy Gobert trade and shipped Russell to the Lakers at this year’s trade deadline. Beasley, Vanderbilt and Russell helped Los Angeles go 18-9 after the February trade deadline, which was the best record in the rugged Western Conference.
Beasley averaged 11.1 points while shooting 39.2% from the field and 35.3% from beyond the arc with the Lakers. The sharpshooter made 66 3-pointers in 26 games, helping the LakeShow become more dynamic on offense.
D’Angelo Russell Is Ready for the Timberwolves
After the Lakers defeated the Jazz on April 9 in the last game of the regular season, Russell spoke about facing his former team in the play-in game.
“I mean, not the fact that they traded me has anything to do with it, but the fact that they’re in the way of what we’re trying to get done,” Russell said. “I mean, that’s all that really matters to me honestly. Trying to prepare mentally now for that because obviously, it’s a big game and it matters. It dictates a lot. So just trying to get that win by any means.”
Russell, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists with the Lakers. The one-time All-Star shot 48.4% overall and 41.4% from 3-point range.
LeBron James on the Timberwolves: ‘We Know What We’re Getting Ourselves Into’
Lakers superstar LeBron James knows that he and his teammates have to be locked in on both ends of the floor against the Timberwolves, who went 2-1 versus Los Angeles during the regular season.
“It’s a challenge versus everybody and Minnesota is no different,” James said. “When you got guys like KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) and Anthony Edwards, those guys can both go for 40 against you. … You have a very cerebral, solid point guard in Mike Conley who’s been in multiple playoff games. So listen, we know what we’re getting ourselves into.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, who never stopped believing in his team despite the 2-10 start to the season, thinks his squad can make some serious noise in the playoffs.
“I just think the sky’s the limit, man,” Ham said. “I think if we’re healthy and we get the team to pay attention to detail and continue to alleviate mistakes that may be a little repetitive and sustain the things we’re doing well, I think sky’s the limit. Any team with LeBron James and a healthy Anthony Davis, D’Lo, Dennis, Austin – all these guys – Vando … We’re not going to put a ceiling on our own selves.”
The Lakers finished the season with 43 wins. They will be the seventh seed in the West if they beat the Timberwolves. If Los Angeles loses to Minnesota, the team needs to defeat the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans-Oklahoma City Thunder 9-10 play-in game to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.