Los Angeles Lakers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves, 97-88

After 78 games and 164 days, the champion Los Angeles Lakers arrived in Minnesota on Friday night for their first and only visit in a season that now has just three games remaining.

Fans flocked to Target Center just for the occasion.

But Kobe Bryant never joined the party on a night when his team played on without him and center Andrew Bynum and still thumped the Timberwolves 97-88 to clinch the Western Conference's top playoff seed.

Present but sidelined for the...