by Charlie O. Mallonee
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.