LOS ANGELES • Tyson Chandler grew up in southern California but it was not until his 18th National Basketball Association season that he finally returned to Los Angeles.
The 36-year-old centre played 23 minutes on his debut on Wednesday, a day after the Lakers signed him, but looked completely at home in a 114-110 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"It's been a crazy 48 hours," Chandler said after the game. "But it was great to be out there, and play a part on the team I've watched my entire life."
Although he scored only two points, it was his nine rebounds that mattered, including two crucial offensive rebounds in the final 42 seconds.
The last time the two teams met in Minnesota on Oct 30, the Lakers were outrebounded 51-48 in a 124-120 loss. On Wednesday, it was 47-40 to Los Angeles.
"He gave us great minutes," Lakers star forward LeBron James said. "Every last one of his minutes was impactful."
The Lakers improved to 5-6 while the Timberwolves fell to 4-8.
James led the Lakers with 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Powered by their veteran backcourt, the Timberwolves got 31 points from Derrick Rose and 24 from Jimmy Butler.
Minnesota remained winless on the road at 0-7, and also dropped their fourth straight game overall.
In Sacramento, Kawhi Leonard returned to score 25 points as the Toronto Raptors improved their league-best record to 11-1 with a 114-105 victory over the Kings.
Leonard, who missed the last two games with a sore ankle, added 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won five straight since losing to Milwaukee on Oct 29.
Pascal Siakam scored 21 points, Serge Ibaka had 14 points and 14 rebounds while Kyle Lowry added 16 points and eight assists for the Raptors.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE