MINNEAPOLIS -- Not even a loss could spoil a return to the court for one downright giddy Canadian point guard.
And not even Steve Nash's personal victory against time and injury could save the Los Angeles Lakers from another loss.
Playing in his first game in nearly three months, Nash returned to the court for the Lakers, playing more minutes than originally planned and offering an encouraging and efficient performance.
The Lakers? They were once again outgunned from the get-go in a 109-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, drawing the ire of Coach Mike D'Antoni for not playing hard in the first half.
"It's something we can't repeat," D'Antoni said. "We did it against Charlotte and we did it the first half we did not compete the first half. We talked about it at halftime. The second half we played much better, we competed."
The Lakers (16-32) extended their losing streak to a season-worst seven games, and have now lost 19 of their last 22. The latest came without Pau Gasol, who will be out until at least the All-Star break because of a strained right groin muscle.
Nick Young led the Lakers with 24 points off the bench, but the player of the night was Nash. In 25 minutes, Nash, who turns 40 on Friday, contributed 7 points and 9 assists. He was 3 of 6 from the field, including a 3-pointer.
Nash appeared in just six games before being shut down on Nov. 10 because of nerve root irritation in his back, stemming to a broken leg he suffered early last season.
"It's been a tough road," Nash said, "but tonight there's a part of me that feels like a kid, like a rookie that gets to play in the NBA. It's a pretty cool feeling."
Minnesota's Kevin Martin led all scorers with 32 points, while former UCLA star Kevin Love scored 31 points and added 17 rebounds.
In addition to Nash, the Lakers also welcomed back Steve Blake, who had not played since Dec. 13 after tearing a ligament in his right elbow. He suffered a ruptured eardrum in the second quarter but stayed in the game, going scoreless with 6 assists and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes.
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