Observations from Lakers vs. Timberwolves preseason game

One night after dropping a close game to the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Lakers were at it again in Sin City, this time against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It was a strange-looking lineup that took the floor, as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley were given the night off while Anthony Davis didn’t play for the second straight night because of lower back tightness.

Los Angeles looked solid in the first quarter, but the game got away from it in the second quarter and it never quite caught up, losing by the final score of 114-99.

The Lakers couldn't throw a pea in the ocean

After a solid first quarter in which they scored 27 points, the Lakers’ offense was as dry as the desert surrounding Las Vegas.

They had massive problems putting the ball in the basket, especially from the outside, as they shot just 22.4 percent from 3-point range.

Granted, some of those problems could be attributed to so many rotation players being out for L.A., but Minnesota didn’t struggle as much without Karl-Anthony Towns, as it made 43.8 percent of its shots overall and 31.3 percent from downtown.

Outside shooting has been tabbed as one of the Lakers’ biggest weaknesses for a while now. It’s an issue they badly need to rectify in order to be very competitive this season.

Thomas Bryant Made A Nice Impression

Bryant, who was signed by the Purple and Gold for the veteran minimum salary as a free agent, made a strong argument that he should be the team’s starting center.

He made his impact felt on both ends of the floor by securing defensive rebounds, looking to intimidate opposing players in the paint defensively, scoring inside and running the floor in transition.

Early in the game, Bryant made a nice effort to get out on the fast break, which allowed him to get on the board with an early basket and some free throws.

His energy was rather noticeable, and his activity allowed him to make a nice living at the charity stripe.

Overall, he finished with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 8-of-10 from the free throw line, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot in 26 minutes.

Bryant was almost a non-factor in L.A.’s first two preseason games, but tonight he proved he has the ability to make a noticeable impact on the team this season.

Scotty Pippen Jr. was solid

Of the Lakers’ undrafted rookies, Pippen has attracted the most attention and hype, mostly because he is the son of Hall of Famer and six-time NBA world champion Scottie Pippen.

But the younger Pippen has a nice set of skills in his own right, and he showed off some of them on Wednesday.

Although he shot just 4-of-12 from the field, he had 14 points while filling up the stat sheet with four rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks.

He has shown a nice ability to get steals, and his ability to hit the open man has improved since he made his summer league debut a few months ago.

He also seems to be able to absorb contact while on the move and still hit shots while getting fouled.

Turnovers have been an issue for the younger Pippen ever since, but tonight he did a decent job in that department with just three.

He looked rather poised and comfortable for a rookie, and although he doesn’t stand out, he is starting to look steady and dependable, which is more than what could be said for many rookie guards.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire