By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves met in Sacramento on Sunday night in a game that meant nothing in the standings. Both clubs are out of the playoff picture. The only thing that was on the line was pride. The Kings and T-Wolves brought plenty of pride to the game and put on a hard-fought show for the big crowd which went home happy because the Kings won the game 106-103.
The Kings were led by the outstanding play of DeMarcus Cousins who scored 35 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and handed out six assists. It was Cousins’ 53rd double-double of the season. He shot 13 of 21 from the field and was 9 of 13 from the free throw line.
Cousins’ brilliant play was not the biggest story of the night for the Kings’ center. With one-minute and 13-seconds left in the game, Cousins picked up his 16th technical foul of the season which means he will be suspended for the Kings’ final game of the season versus Phoenix. Cousins had played with the 15 technical fouls hanging over his head since February 25th.
The Kings can and will appeal to the league office who can overturn the call. Head Coach Michael Malone said, “I feel for him. (We will) try to get it rescinded.
Rookie Ben McLemore played with abandon on offense and defense. McLemore scored 19 points and shot 3 for 6 from beyond the 3-point arc. On defense, McLemore held Kevin Martin and Robbie Hummel to just five points combined.
To the delight of the fans, Isaiah Thomas returned to the floor after missing 10 consecutive games with a right quad contusion. Thomas was very productive in his 30-minutes of playing time. He scored 14 points and dished out four assist.
The Timberwolves were led by Kevin Love’s 43 points and 11 rebounds. Love was 15 of 17 from the free throw line. Love had a relatively quiet first-half scoring just 13 points. He really came alive in the second-half and was the leader on the floor for Minnesota.
Rookie Center Gorgui Dieng had a spectacular game through three quarters. He picked up his fourth foul and was quiet after that. Dieng scored 21 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had four assists.
After the game Kings Head Coach Michael Malone said, “(It was a) hell of an effort for our guys. (We) played better in the second half. Happy to get this win after losing five in a row.”
The Kings will play their final game of the season on Wednesday night in Sacramento against the Phoenix Suns who battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.