sactownroyalty.com photo: The Sacramento Kings Skal Labissiere (7) asks “what gives” as teammate Harry Giles III (20) looks on in the Kings’ 30-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at the Target Center.
On the Kings podcast with Charlie O:
#1 The Minnesota Timberwolves had just too much fire power on Monday night for the Sacramento Kings. The Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins led all scorers with 17 and the Kings’ Bobby Hield topped scorers with 21 points.
#2 Kings head coach Dave Joerger had 13 players even players who have not played in a long while come off the bench and get minutes. Was this because the Wolves were piling on or because he thought he could right the ship with a rotating lineup?
#3 Skal Labissiere–it was his ninth time playing and he got some minutes. While Labissiere was happy to get in the game. he hasn’t seen much action at this season.
#4 The Kings were in over their heads at the Target Center against the Wolves in the 30-point loss. With Wiggins, the top scorer with 17, is it an indicator that all the players in this one were all shooting the lights out no matter who they were? Did they find a weakness in the Kings’ game plan?
#5 The Kings host the OKC Thunder on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. Will the Kings need to put their shoulder into this one much like the game in Minnesota? How does Charlie see this one?
Style points are usually reserved for events in the Olympics. Well, the Winter Olympics are in full swing and the Kings are in full “player development mode”, so we have to judge them on more than just wins and losses.
For their efforts in Minnesota on Sunday night, the young Kings get a 10 for effort, a 10 for hustle and eight for style. Sacramento lost the game to the T-Wolves 111-106, but they did what no one really expected them to do in this first game of a three-game road trip. The Kings made it a very competitive game.
The Kings did two major things right on Sunday night:
They came out of the gate an played hard from the opening jump ball. De’Aaron Fox led the way scoring 14 points in first period as the Kings outscored the Timberwolves 29-23 in the first quarter. Sacramento also played some tough defense as they gave up only 23 points.
The second thing the Kings did well on Sunday night is they avoided the dreaded third quarter letdown. Sacramento has established a habit of playing very ineffective basketball in the third stanza and then having to try to come back in dramatic fashion in the fourth quarter to make up for bad third quarters. The Kings won the third quarter on Sunday night 26-19
The Timberwolves superior firepower took its toll in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Kings 36-26 to win the game 111-106. The game was competitive right up until the final seven-seconds of the contest.
The victory was the Timberwolves 13th consecutive win on their homecourt. That is truly an incredible run.
Rookie De’Aaron Fox played an outstanding game in his almost 35-minutes on the floor. Beyond his 14 points in the first quarter, Fox finished the game with a team-high 23 points. He shot 8-for-16 from the floor and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Fox added three steals and two assists to his stats for the game.
Buddy Hield had another productive game coming off the bench. Hield played just under 19-minutes but manged to post 16 points in that time on the floor. Hield shot 6-for-13 including going 2-for-5 from 3-point land. Buddy also recorded four rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot.
Rookie (well NBA rookie) Bogdan Bogdanovic put 13 points in the book in 30-plus minutes on the floor. He shot 5-for-12 from the field and hit 2-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc. Bogie also dished out eight assists in the game.
To no one’s surprise, the big KAT was the man for Minnesota on Sunday night. Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 29 points shooting 10-for-17 from the floor. Towns went a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. He grabbed eight rebounds, dished out six assists and blocked three shots in the game.
Veteran Jimmy Butler added 18 points hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor. Butler went to the free throw line nine times and converted seven of those opportunities. Butler also added three assists.
Andrew Wiggins was another key part of the T-Wolves win on Sunday. He scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and distributed three assists. Wiggins hit 7-of-13 of his shots in the game.
The Kings shot 47.7-percent (42-for-88) for the game and hit 10-of-25 (40-percent) from 3-point range.
Sacramento hit 12-of-17 from the charity stripe. The team needs to go to the free throw line at least 20 times per game, but hitting 70.6-percent of their opportunities is acceptable.
The Kings pulled down 43 rebounds – 15 of those rebounds were offensive grabs. Those 15 offensive rebounds turned into 22 points for SAC.
Sacramento committed 19 turnovers that became 22 Minnesota points. The Kings totaled only 17 assists which gave them a negative assists to turnover ratio.
The T-Wolves shot 50-percent (37-for-74) from the floor for the game on Sunday night. They hit 9-of-24 chances from long-range.
Minnesota went to the free throw line 32 times. They sank 28 of those free throw shots (87.5-percent).
The Timberwolves dished out 29 assists while committing 17 turnovers which is close to the 2-to-1 desired ratio goal.
The T-Wolves biggest lead in the game was five points while the Kings largest lead was 10 points. There were 10 lead changes and the game was tied 15 times.
Sacramento will play the second game of their three-game road trip on Tuesday night in Dallas versus the Mavericks.
Minnesota will stay at home and host the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
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.
Oakland- The Golden State Warriors beat the young and talented Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night at the Oracle Arena by a score of 115-102. The Warriors played the game without Draymond Green and Ian Clark. Green and Clark suffered injuries on the same play Friday night in Los Angeles. Coach Steve Kerr said that when he told Draymond that he would not play, Draymond “did not fight me on it. If someone is banged up, we give him the night off, no matter who he is.” Kerr gave Kevon Looney the first start of his relatively short NBA career. Looney, in a career-high nineteen minutes of play, scored six points, had two assists and three rebounds. Without Green in the lineup, the Dubs had to find a way to defend the Wolves Big Three. Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and Rookie-of-the-Year Karl-Anthony Towns are all just twenty-one years old, and these three can play basketball. Those three kept the Wolves in the game, but the Warriors prevailed. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson led the Warriors in scoring. Durant was magnificent on defense as he had ten rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots. Steph had eight boards and six assists. Zaza Pachulia, Javon McGee, and David West all made their presence felt in the game.
The Warriors started the game well. They had a 21-13 lead until Minnesota went on a thirteen-three run. The first quarter ended with the Wolves leading 33-30. Karl-Anthony Towns (12), Andrew Wiggins(9), and Zach LaVine(9) scored thirty of the thirty-three Wolves’ points in the quarter. The Wolves were 62.5% from the floor. The Dubs weren’t bad as they shot 60%, but they trailed by three.
The Warriors’ and the Wolves were cold to start the second quarter. The Dubs went four minutes without scoring a point. The Timberwolves weren’t much better. They scored just three to take a 36-30 lead with eight minutes left. The Dubs behind Durant, Curry, Looney, and Pachulia managed to put Golden State in the lead. The Warrior defense shut down the Minnesota offense and the Dubs outscored them 26-25 to take an eight-point lead (56-48) at the half. KD(18), Steph(11), and Klay(11) were the high scorers for Golden State.
The Warriors increased the lead to seventeen at the end of three as Steph continued to make three-point shots. However, Minnesota came to life in the fourth quarter and closed the gap to eight but Steph, Klay, and Durant made clutch baskets when needed and they took down the Timberwolves 115-102.
Game Notes- The Warriors won their eleventh straight game to improve to 15-2. The Wolves fall to 5-11. Steph led the Dubs with 34 to go along with six assists and eight rebounds. Klay Thompson had twenty-three and six boards. Durant had a double-double with 28 points and ten rebounds. Durant had a career-high six blocked shots. The Warriors streak of ten consecutive games with 30 or more assists ended. The Dubs made just twenty-five in the contest. Zach LaVine led the Wolves with 31. Towns had 18 and Wiggins added 18.
The Warriors meet the Atlanta Hawks Monday night at the Oracle Arena at 7:30 pm.
picture credit: NBAE– Minnesota Timberwolves Karl Anthony Towns (32) goes up on the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night
SACRAMENTO- The Kings had to play without DeMarcus Cousins after he injured his right knee in Monday’s contest in Chicago. As the Kings headed into tonight’s game, the team has struggled all season when he hasn’t suited up. Without the All Star center in the lineup, the Timberwolves looked to capitalize on that with their rookie center Karl Anthony Towns.
Towns had a huge game as DMC watched from the sidelines. The missing presence of Cousins in the middle allowed Minnesota to score a total of 64 points in the paint.
Sacramento was able to stay in the game for most of the game thanks to Rajon Rondo. Rondo totaled 14 points in the first quarter alone for his highest total in a quarter all season. The point guard kept the Kings in a good position all through the first half, as the T-Wolves led 50-48.
Minnesota broke it open in the third quarter as the the T-Wolves shot 70% from the field in the quarter. Sacramento was unable to play tough defense and allowed their opponent to out score them by ten in the quarter. Minnesota would lead 84-72 to end the the third.
The Kings did however try to make a come back to start the fourth. They were able to go on a 15-5 run and get the score to within two points at 89-87. But Minnesota was able to hit A 6-0 run and open their lead back up. After getting back ahead, the T-Wolves never looked back and won by nine, 113-104.
The Kings turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 22 points for Minnesota. Towns totaled 26 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine both added 23 more as the T-Wolves shot 56.3%. The Kings turnovers cost them the gave as they did get some good production out of other players. Kosta Koufus scored 15 points and grabbed 15 boards for a double double as he started in place of Cousins . Rondo finished with a team high 25 points and added 8 rebounds and 12 assists.
The three young Minnesota players dominated the Kings offensively and Sacramento missed DMC’s presence. With the season winding down, it could be interesting to see if the Kings can win a couple ball games for pride maybe just want to get a better lottery pick.
The Kings will head back to Sacramento after their 4 game road trip. They’ve struggled at home in the past month, but hopefully the team can pull out a couple more wins as the arena’s days come to an end. The Kings take on the Suns at home on Friday, March 25, at 7 p.m.
Sacramento – The momentum that the Sacramento Kings brought with them when they returned home from a five-game road was lost on Friday night when they were defeated by the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-91.
If you like uptempo basketball with plenty of 3-point shooting, then this game would have been to your liking. The ball crossed the mid-court line in three to five seconds on each possession and there was a total 47 three-point attempts in the game.
What was missing for the Kings in the game was defense in the first half and offense in the second half.
In the first half, the Kings allowed the T-Wolves to shoot 54.3-percent (19-for-35) from the field. Minnesota shot 53.8-percent (7-for-13) from 3-point range. The Kings generated just enough offense to keep the game close. At the half, the Timberwolves held a 53-47 lead over the Kings.
The Kings defense improved in the second half but their offense went away. Sacramento was unable took take the lead in the second half. The Kings did cut the T-Wolves lead to just two points early in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to capitalize on their effort as Minnesota opened up double-digit leads with less than six minutes left to play.
The Kings desperately needed to put together a run of six to eight points but were unable to do so. As the fourth quarter progressed, Sacramento was relegated to trading baskets with their opponents. In the end, the Kings just ran out of time.
Sacramento (6-11) was without DeMarcus Cousins who dressed for the contest but did not play due to a lower back strain. The Kings are now 1-6 when Cousins is not in the lineup.
The Timberwolves (8-8) have become true road warriors. Minnesota is now 6-2 on the road for the season.
Rajon Rondo was the workhorse for the Kings again in this game. Rondo recorded a double-double putting up 16 points and distributing 16 assists. He made 7-of-16 field goal attempts and shot 1-for-2 from beyond the 3-point line. Rondo did not commit a turnover in his 36-plus minutes on the floor.
Marco Belinelli was the Kings leading scorer with 17 points off the bench. He shot 7-for-12 from the floor and hit 3-of-5 three-point attempts. Belinelli has scored in double-figures in each of the last five games.
Kosta Koufos had a solid game for the Kings posting a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.
Omri Casspi was strong off the bench for Sacramento once again. Casspi scored 15 points shooting 6-for-10 from the floor including two 3-pointers.
The shock of the night was the play of Rudy Gay. He shot 1-for-13 and scored just two points in 26-plus minutes of playing time. Much of the credit for Gay’s subpar performance can be credited to Andrew Wiggins who played tough defense against the Kings star forward all night long.
As a team the Kings shot 43.0-percent (37-for-86) for the game. They made 8-of-22 three-point attempts. The glaring statistic of the night was the Kings free throw shooting or rather the lack there of. Sacramento averages 23 free throw attempts per game. The had just 15 attempts on Friday night converting just nine of those attempts.
In order to close the scoring gap in the second half, the Kings needed to drive the lane, pick up fouls and score with the clock stopped. They were unable to make that happen.
The Kings were out-rebounded by the T-Wolves. Minnesota pulled down 46 rebounds to just 36 for Sacramento.
The Kings dished out 21 assists while turning the ball over 15 times. The 15 turnovers resulted in 16 points for Minnesota.
The T-Wolves leading scorer was second-year forward Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins scored 22 points hitting on 8-of-17 shots. He went 5-for-6 from the free throw while grabbing six rebounds. Wiggins also showed off his defensive prowess by helping to hold Rudy Gay to just two points.
Zach LaVine started at point guard for the injured Ricky Rubio. LaVine scored 19 points, hauled in eight rebounds and had four assists for the T-Wolves.
The NBA’s number one overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns had a relatively quiet night. He scored just seven points but he did record eight rebounds.
Shabazz Muhammad put up 15 points off the bench and the ageless Andre Miller scored 12 points playing as the backup point guard.
The Timberwolves shot 48.1-percent (33-for-77) from the floor and made 9-of-25 (36.0-percent) 3-point shots. The T-Wolves converted 18-of-19 (94.7-percent) free throw attempts.
Minnesota posted 20 assists and 18 turnovers. Their turnovers resulted in 19 points for the Kings.
What they said after the game
“Tonight was a struggle. A struggle offensively in the second half, defensively in the first half,” said Kings head coach George Karl. “First half, I had all sorts of trouble with our defense. We just don’t have a luxury with Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) not playing to not give an effort defensively. I thought the second half effort was there defensively, but offensively we were just frustrated and confused.”
“We need to give them (Minnesota) credit. They played hard tonight. They are a talented team, but that was a very winnable game for us. At the same time, we have to turn the page and move on and learn from our mistakes,” said Kings center Kosta Koufos.
When asked about how it felt to reach .500 (8-8) Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins said, “It feels good. Especially, when we were three games out of it then we won the last three games, so we’re picking it up. We’re getting better every game so it feels good.”
The Kings will have no time to sit and ponder their next moves to improve their play. Sacramento travels to Oakland to take on the 17-0 Golden State Warriors Saturday night. Playing DeMarcus Cousins against the Warriors will probably be game-time decision.
The Timberwolves travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday in the finale of their two-game road trip.
The Sacramento Kings snapped their two-game road skid on Thursday night using an opportune matchup against the cellar dwelling Minnesota Timberwolves, battling their way to a 110-107 victory.
After dropping consecutive games to Brooklyn and Boston, the Kings used a balanced scoring attack that saw all five starters in double digits to down the Timberwolves, who are currently tied for the second worst record in league with just 5 wins on the season.
Rudy Gay and Darren Collison led the team with 21 points a piece, while DeMarcus Cousins followed closely behind with another strong showing, posting 19 points and seven rebounds in the winning effort.
But despite the scoring outbursts from the Kings’ starting five, another weak night from Sacramento’s bench allowed Minnesota to make it an interesting game down the stretch. Sacramento had lost both of their key starters in Gay and Cousins with the score tied at 99, with just a little over 4 minutes left to play.
But Collison came up clutch for the Kings down the stretch, sinking two key free throws that forced Minnesota into a last second three pointer that missed its mark, securing the win for Sacramento in the tight contest.
Rookie standout Andrew Wiggins had an impressive showing for Minnesota, posting 27 points and nine rebounds while keeping the Timberwolves within striking range.
After dropping the first two games of the roadtrip, Sacramento can now finish the four game series with a 2-2 showing, as they look to keep their win streak alive against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.