MINNEAPOLIS -- More and more, Kobe Bryant feels like a kid locked in a toy store after closing hours.
"It's like Christmas every day," Bryant said. "We have so many weapons here. I really just use my abilities to be a bait, continue to create easy shots for my teammates and just move the ball and play well together."
Bryant continues to be complimentary of the Lakers and their recent success, which makes sense.
Pau Gasol has been a boon since joining the team, averaging 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in five games while providing an immeasurable emotional boost on what many thought would be a rough trip.
Lamar Odom seems comfortable as the team's third scoring option. Ronny Turiaf and Jordan Farmar remain bursts of energy off the bench. Sasha Vujacic has been scoring from the outside. Luke Walton made a key shot down the stretch Monday against Charlotte.
It adds up to the Lakers sitting on the cusp of road-trip history.
If they win tonight in Minnesota, they'll finish 7-2 on their trip and compile the league's best record in nine or more continuous road games since neutral-site games were eliminated in 1974-75. (The San Antonio Spurs were 8-1 on a 2003 trip but came home before it ended.)
Funny thing, though. The Lakers keep talking about the near-victories that became bad losses on the trip -- a 90-89 setback in Detroit and a 98-95 defeat in Atlanta. The Lakers lost late leads in both games.
"We put ourselves in a good position [on the trip], but we're still upset we let those two get away," Bryant said. "We honestly believe that we should be sitting here at 8-0. We honestly feel that way. It's time to go into Minnesota and see if we can't close the trip out the right way."
Then there are the other guys in the Gasol trade.
Kwame Brown is averaging two points and 2.3 rebounds in three games for Memphis. He did not play Saturday against New Orleans and played two minutes Tuesday against Sacramento. Javaris Crittenton is averaging five points and 0.7 assists in three games for the Grizzlies. He did not play Tuesday.
at Minnesota, 5 PST, Ch. 9
Site -- Target Center.
Radio -- 570, 1330.
Records --Lakers 34-17, Timberwolves 10-40.
Record vs. Timberwolves -- 2-0.
Update -- The Lakers had no trouble with the Timberwolves the last time the teams met at the Target Center. Kobe Bryant had 20 points in 29 minutes while fighting stomach flu in the Lakers' 116-95 victory Dec. 4. Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf sat out that game with ailments.