Here are your 10 additional things to take away from the Lakers' 106-101 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday ...
Before the season had begun and the Lakers' prospects for a return trip to the championship round already seemed farfetched with the departures of Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant maintained confidence in his group.
"Last I checked I still have Pau [Gasol] and Andrew [Bynum]," Bryant said back in the first week of training camp. "I kind of like my chances."
Bryant, Gasol and Bynum combined for 84 of the Lakers' 106 points against Minnesota (79.2 percent) and his wasn't Bryant scoring 81 again and Gasol and Bynum combining for the other three, either.
The NBA's top trios are usually thought to be in Miami, Boston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, but the Lakers still have a formidable threesome of their own.
"Our three guys -- Gasol, Bynum and Bryant -- all stepped up offensively and put the ball in the hole for us," said Lakers coach Mike Brown.
"The 'big three,' " Gasol said with a smile and a laugh when a reported rattled off how Bryant (35 points), Gasol (28 points) and Bynum (21 points) were all able to click together in the same game.
There have been plenty of games when two of the three had found their rhythm in a single night, but the Wolves game allowed all three to get going because they took turns as the featured offensive thrust. Gasol had 14 points in the first quarter on 6-for-8 shooting. Bryant's biggest quarter came in the third when he had 13 on 4-for-10 shooting. Bynum scored two in the first, six in the second, six in the third and hit his crescendo in the fourth with seven points on 3-for-7 shooting as the Lakers kept feeding it inside after the Timberwolves had battled all the way back from being down by 18.
"When a guy gets it going, obviously a team recognizes it and we try to get the ball to that guy so he can continue to be effective and be productive," Gasol said.
Bryant's 29 shots were the same amount as Gasol's and Bynum's shot attempts combined. It's not a perfect proportion. If the Lakers' Big Three are to get 58 shots between them, the ideal mix would probably be 24 for Bryant and 17 apiece for Gasol and Bynum, but it wasn't that far off.
"They get the same amount of touches pretty much every game," Bryant said. "They played well because they were aggressive and they created space and they made good of their opportunities. It’s about them capitalizing on those chances and being physical down low and creating from those opportunities that they’re given."
Bynum, who grumbled about only getting 10 shots against Milwaukee, was pleased with his output.
"It felt good to get some touches and do some good stuff with them," Bynum said.
The triple threat left the Wolves exasperated.
"What they did was that they loaded Kobe and Bynum on the same side along with Gasol, so it was like pick your poison," Michael Beasley said.
While Bryant's and Gasol's shot totals were different, their minutes played were identical. They each played 42 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back, including both playing all 24 minutes of the second half.
"We wanted to win," Brown said. "I just felt that’s what needed to happen. We’ll rest later. I don’t like doing that."
Bryant, 33, came into the game averaging 38.4 minutes per game, ranked second in the NBA only to Minnesota's Kevin Love. Gasol, 31, ranked seventh at 37.6 minutes per game. The average age of the other eight players rounding out the top 10 in minutes played per game was 25.6 years old.
"It got complicated in the second half and coach made a decision of leaving [in] or putting the starting group out for most of the half because we just had to get it done," Gasol said. "So, that was it."
Bryant is averaging 4.5 more minutes per game than he did last season. Brown has said in the past he'd like to keep Bryant's playing time limited to the 34 minute range.
"I’m running him [so much] because we’re trying to win some games and trying to learn kind of on the fly," Brown said before the game. "In a perfect world, if we can get [his minutes] down, that’s definitely what I’d like to do. But we’re trying to win games first and figure that out second, or later."
The night before in Milwaukee, Bryant played 42 minutes as well but said he doesn't really feel how many minutes he's playing during the course of a game except when it becomes a drastic difference.
"If I’m out there a lot longer, obviously I know I’m playing more minutes," Bryant said.
Were his and Gasol's increase in minutes in direct correlation to Brown's desire to leave Minnesota with a win?
"I would assume so," Bryant said. "We needed to get a win on the road."
Brown switched up the starting small forward position for the second time this season. The Lakers are now 1-0 with Metta World Peace as the starting 3 after going 2-2 with Devin Ebanks and 9-7 with Matt Barnes.
"He didn’t score a lot, but I felt that he did a nice job facilitating," Brown said of World Peace, who finished with two points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. "Whether he got the hockey assist or the assist, he got some guys some looks with them trying to put [Luke] Ridnour on him."
The 6-7, 260-pound World Peace was shocked the Wolves stuck the 6-2, 175-pound Ridnour on him.
"They started two point guards. I don’t know how that really works. Or, I don’t know [how] they put a guy who is 100 pounds on me or 150 pounds on me," World Peace said. "That’s so crazy, I don’t understand. But, I love coach [Rick] Adelman. He’s been a great coach for me."
Despite the win, one glaring statistic stood out: The Lakers gave up 24 offensive rebounds, resulting in 32 second-chance points for the Wolves.
"It was the offensive rebounding that really destroyed us there and kept them in the game," Bryant said. "They really did a number on us on the boards."
Added Brown: "It would be interesting to go back and watch the tape so see how they kept beating us to the ball. Maybe we were tired, maybe we didn’t box out, I don’t know."
The Lakers broke the 100-point barrier for just the second time this season, ending a franchise-worst 13-game drought without hitting the century mark, a first since the advent of the shot clock.
"It’s not that significant," Bynum said. "We should be able to score 100 points. Offense has been tough for us."
Derek Fisher recently made it known that he doesn't plan on pursuing a coaching career in the future, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the chops to pull it off.
Even though Fisher had a modest stat line of five points and seven assists against Minnesota, he was credited for bringing the Lakers out of their offensive doldrums in the second half when the Wolves were mounting a comeback. The Lakers started going back inside to Bynum, but Fisher designed action around the center to free up space to get him the ball.
"D-Fish drew up a great play that had us crossing and then we were just getting some layups," Bynum said.
Lakers rookie Andrew Goudelock finished with seven points on 3-for-7 shooting, bringing his scoring average for the last three games to 11.3 points per night. Brown has been so pleased with his second-round pick out of the College of Charleston he has taken an interest in learning how to pronounce the rookie's last name correctly (as ESPN.com's J.A. Adande tweeted recently, it's rhymes with "Crowd lock").
"It’s great to see the young fella Goudelock … Is that how you say it? Ooh, boy," Brown said, getting excited he said it correctly. "Right before I said it, man, I was thinking, ‘Goodelock, Goudelock, Goodelock, Goudelock?’ OK. Goudelock. Goudelock stepped up and he’s played well. I might not forget [his pronunciation] now. He’s shown he can put the ball in the hole."
A reverse layup by Bryant with 4:52 remaining in the second quarter was the 9,936th field goal made of the dynamic guard's career, putting him past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the franchise record holder.
"It feels good," Bryant said. "It’s different than any other franchise. When you’re talking about the Lakers, you’re talking about some of the all-time greats. So, it feels good to be mentioned in the same breath as those players."
The night before against Milwaukee, Bryant surpassed the man who orchestrated a draft-day trade to acquire him, Jerry West, for free throws made with 7,160 to hold that franchise record as well.
Quote of the night: "It don’t matter to me whether I start or don’t start. That don’t matter. I just want some consistency, that’s it. Even if I’m the towel boy, just let me be a consistent towel boy." -- World Peace on searching for his role in the rotation.
Stats of the night: The Wolves had 104 field goal attempts, 25 more than the Lakers' 79. ... The Lakers improved their road record to 2-7 and have a six-game road trip starting Friday in Denver. ... Minnesota had just four turnovers for the game.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.