LOS ANGELES (AP) - Tyson Chandler savored the ovations when he first took the court in downtown Los Angeles. The cheers at the end were even sweeter.
The Lakers' newest big man got to represent his hometown Wednesday night for the first time in his 18 NBA seasons, and he came up bigger and better than even he expected in a hard-fought win.
LeBron James had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Kyle Kuzma scored six of his 21 points in the final minutes of the Lakers' 114-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James, Kuzma and Josh Hart played major roles in the Lakers' third win in four games, but they all directed praise toward Chandler, who joined the Lakers on Tuesday after reaching a buyout agreement with Phoenix. After LA's savvy basketball fans welcomed Chandler to town with cheers, the veteran provided much of what the Lakers have been lacking this season.
"It's honestly all love," Chandler said. "I love this city the way they love me. When you're homegrown from here and going to high school and all that and you've had these same fans, and now you represent the jersey that everybody has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one. I've been on the other side and played the villain. Now it's great to be on this side and actually rep them."
With only a cursory knowledge of the Lakers' plays and schemes, Chandler still provided defense, rebounding and hard picks while playing a surprising 23 minutes.
Chandler's nine rebounds included two enormous offensive boards in the last minute. He then contested Derrick Rose's final 3-point attempt, forcing a miss that essentially sealed the win.