MINNEAPOLIS: Pau Gasol scored 29 points with 15 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers - with Kobe Bryant looking on - secured home court advantage through the NBA Western Conference playoffs with a win over Minnesota.
Lamar Odom had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the defending champions, who beat the Timberwolves 97-88 and have the top seed in the West for the third straight season.
Coach Phil Jackson rested Bryant for the second night in a row.
Bryant has been bothered by an aching right index finger, which contributed to his 13-for-47 shooting in his previous two games played.
Jackson also wants Bryant's legs to be fresh for a title run in a Western Conference in which all eight playoff teams could be 50-game winners.
Jonny Flynn scored 19 points and Kevin Love had 12 points and 18 rebounds for Minnesota, who were missing their leading scorer as well.
Al Jefferson missed his second straight game and has not been with the team for the last four days while spending time with a relative who has been in hospital.
Jackson said several fans who saw him in the team hotel expressed their frustration that Bryant wouldn't play in the Lakers' only trip to Minneapolis this season.
"I've already said I'm sorry to a couple people," he said.