by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings faced an impossible task on Saturday night in Minneapolis. They had been blown out of the arena in New Orleans on Friday night and then had to make a long flight to the Twin Cities to play the second game of a back-to-back set on the road on Saturday versus the Timeberwolves.
Dealing with losses is something a young team has to do but wait … the Kings did not lose in Minnesota. They beat the Timberwolves 123-117 to up their record to 30-47 on the season which puts them just one game behind the 12th place T-Wolves in the Western Conference standings.
The loss puts Minnesota just one game behind the Kings for the seventh best odds in the NBA Lottery. I hate this time of year where winning can be bad and losing can be good for your team. Somehow that system needs to be tweaked – hello Adam Silver!
This was a game of extremes
The T-Wolves led by 13 after the first 12-minutes. They increased that lead to 16 at one point. The Kings recovered from the big leads and held a 15 point lead of their own at one point.
There were 13 lead changes in this game and it was tied nine times. Both teams fought hard in this contest. The key for Sacramento was outscoring Minnesota 37-28 in the second quarter and 36-26 in the third quarter.
The Kings out-shot the Timberwolves
Sacramento finished with some very strong shooting stats. They shot 56.4-percent (44-for-78) from the floor overall. They were an incredible 11-for-19 (57.9-percent) from downtown.
Minnesota shot 39-for-87 (44.8-percent) from the field and just 36-percent (9-of-25) from behind the 3-point arc. The two teams tied with 48 points each in the paint.
The big difference was the bench scoring
The Kings bench outscored the Minnesota bench 66-26. It is very tough to stop a team who has a second unit that is that on fire.
Ty Lawson led the Kings bench scoring with 21 points. He was 5-for-8 from the floor and an incredible 11-for-14 from the charity stripe. Langston Galloway put up 17 points and hit 3-of-4 3-point shots. Arron Afflalo scored 16 points for the second unit converting 4-of-5 3-point tries.
Buckets and WCS lead the starters
Rookie Buddy Hield tied his season-high points total with 22 against Minnesota. He went 9-for-15 from the floor and hit 4-of-6 from downtown. Hield played just over 34-minutes in the game.
Willie Cauley-Stein posted another double-double scoring 15 points and posting 10 rebounds. He shot 5-for-9 from the floor and hit 5-of-7 free throws. WCS also had three assists and two steals.
Minnesota’s big two did their best to beat the Kings
Andrew Wiggins scored a game-high 32 points. He hit 13-of-20 shots from the floor and sank 4-of-7 3-point attempts. Interestingly, Wiggins converted just 2-of-6 free throws. He also had three assists and one blocked shot.
Karl-Anthony Towns sank 8-of-17 shots from the field for 26 points. He was just 1-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. He excelled from the charity stripe by sinking 9-of-10 from the line. Towns posted a double-double game by hauling in 11 rebounds.
The Kings return to the friendly confines of G1C
Sacramento – who has won two of their last three games – will return to action on Tuesday night when they will host the Dallas Mavericks.