Kings play tough in Minnesota but come up just short losing 111-106

Kings vs Twolves final

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Star Performances


Kings vs Twolves 5

  • 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.


Kings vs Twolves extra

  • 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.

Prime Numbers

Sacramento (17-38)

  • 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.

Minnesota (35-24)

  • 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.

Up Next


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 Kings hand the T-Wolves a 123-117 loss on the road in Minnesota

by Charlie O. Mallonee

min kat
Two former Wildcats working against each other Photo NBAE

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

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Hield drives on the basket Photo NBAE

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

min hield
Hield scored 22 for the Kings Photo NBAE

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

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WCS ready to shoot Photo NBAE

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.

Kings win third game in a row defeating the Timberwolves 109-105

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Koufos shoots in the paint photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings won their third consecutive game on Friday night in Minnesota 109-105 as they downed the young and very talented Timberwolves ending their two game winning streak. Both teams fought hard in the game as the lead changed hands 20 times in the contest.

The win was the Kings second in a row on the road as they also won in Utah on Wednesday night. Sacramento’s road record improved to 6-11 and they are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Sacramento’s overall record improved to 13-17 and moved them into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference by one-half game over Portland. That means if the season ended today, the Kings would be in the NBA Playoffs.

DeMarcus Cousins leads the way for the Kings

Cousins struggled with the Wolves double-teams in the first half scoring just 11 points. The Timberwolves were unable to hold him down in the second half as he put up 22 points working the paint and shooting from long range.

The Kings forward/center was the team’s assists leader with seven dimes. He was very aware of where his teammates were when the Minnesota defense double-teamed him. Cousins also led the team in steals. It was a Cousins steal from Zach Levine with 36-seconds to go in the game that helped to seal the win for the Kings.

The Kings bench produced big results on Friday night

The Kings bench outscored the Timberwolves bench 45-11. Anthony Tolliver scored 17 points hitting 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range. Tolliver played 30 minutes off the bench for Sacramento.

Ty Lawson has really come into his own in the last few games. He seems to have found how use his speed in the offense. Lawson scored 15 points for the second unit shooting 5-for-11 including two 3-point baskets. He also dished out four assists and had two steals.

The Kings team stats were very impressive

Sacramento shot 42-for-80 (52.5-percent) from the field. They hit 15-of-29 (51.7-percent) from 3-point land. From the free throw line, the Kings went 10-for-14 (71.4-percent).

The Kings assists to turnover ratio was better than the goal of 2:1. They had 27 assists and turned the ball over just 11 times that Minnesota converted into just six points. Sacramento had seven steals in the contest.

The Kings were out-rebounded 42-38.

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Barnes handles the ball for the Kings photo: NBAE

Coach Joerger’s views on the game

  • It was a good game, a good win
  • The Kings avoided the “track meet” mentality of trying to run with the young Timberwolves
  • The executed pretty well
  • By winning three in row, the team has earned Christmas Eve and Christmas off

Lavine was a one-man wrecking crew for Minnesota

Guard Zach Lavine tried to win the game single-handedly for the Wolves and he almost succeeded. Lavine scored a career high 40 points. He shot 13-for-21 from the field including seven 3-point buckets. Lavine was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. The third-year shooting guard played 39-minutes in the game.

The other Kentucky center had pretty good game as well

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 points for Minnesota. He made it a double-double game by grabbing 13 rebounds. Towns shot 7-for-15 from the floor. He also had five assists.

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Towns works through traffic photo: NBAE

Minnesota has to work on Christmas Day

The Timberwolves travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on December 25th. That is a tough task for a 9-20 team that is trying to find its footing. Minnesota has all the talent it needs to become a real force in the NBA. Now, it’s a matter of developing the maturity.

The Kings return to action on Monday night

Sacramento has a real chance to make it four wins in a row when they host the 7-22 Philadelphia 76ers at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings need to be very careful with the Sixers. It can be very easy to look past a team that is doing so poorly and wind up losing to that squad. That is what happened last season when the Sixers beat the Kings in Sacramento.

The Warriors win their eleventh in a row, down the Minnesota Timberwolves

By Jerry Feitelberg

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.

Kings squeak past Timberwolves 106-103

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings
Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – The Sacramento Kings won their first game in the new Golden 1 Center on Saturday night by squeaking by the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103.It was literally a last-second victory as the Timberwolves had the chance to tie the game or take the lead with 02.6-seconds left on the clock.

The Kings record improves to 2-1 on the season with the victory. Head coach Dave Joerger said the win has some meaning as the Kings get ready to start a five-game road trip.

“It just means you go on the road trip 2-1. I think there is a nice difference between being 2-1 and 1-2 and how you feel about yourself, knowing you are going to play your next five in all kinds of different states around the union,” said coach Joerger about the upcoming road trip. “I think that’s a better feeling getting on the plane tomorrow.”

The loss leaves the Timberwolves winless on the season. Minnesota lost their season opener in Memphis when they let a 14-point lead slip away late in the game. The Timberwolves let an 18-point lead over the Kings evaporate on Saturday night.

New Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau likes his teams talent but feels that something has to happen before they can start winning.

“We have to get a lot tougher. We got to get a lot tougher.”

Minnesota can pass and shoot the ball. The Timberwolves shot 51.4-percent from the floor in the game. They shot over 60-percent in the first quarter. Thibodeau is also correct when he says they are not a very physical team when they need to be.

The Kings started the game slowly shooting under 40-percent for much of the first quarter and allowing Andrew Wiggins to score 13 points. Dave Joerger became so frustrated that he pulled his five starters off the floor with 3:18 to go in the quarter and put in the entire second unit.

The Kings came back to life in the second quarter behind Rudy Gay who scored 12 points and DeMarcus Cousins who put up 11. Matt Barnes came off the bench to make a real difference especially on defense.

The Timberwolves led the Kings 65-54 at halftime.

The third quarter was the difference maker in this game. The Kings came out on fire on both ends of the floor. Sacramento outscored Minnesota 31-12 in the period. The Timberwolves shot only 25-percent from the floor.

Minnesota turned the ball over seven times in the period that resulted in 14 Sacramento points. The Kings had just two turnovers the Timberwolves were unable to turn into any points.

“The 3rd quarter was a problem, big problem. We have to take a look the problems and see where the issues are,” said Tom Thibodeau.

The fourth quarter began with the Kings leading 85-77. Sacramento opened up a 10-point lead then the Timberwolves began to chip away at the that lead. Minnesota went on a 9-0 run and tied the game 100-100 with 3:11 to play.

The Kings went back up by five. After Wiggins hit a free throw and cut the lead to four, the unthinkable happened. DeMarcus Cousins picked up his sixth personal foul with 50.9-seconds left in the game. The Kings had to finish the game with their best player on the bench.

Rookie guard Kris Dunn who was fouled by Cousins missed both of his free throws. Gorgui Dieng grabbed the rebound and Zach LaVine missed a 3-point jump shot. Karl-Anthony Towns got the rebound and converted the lay up to make it a two point game, 105-103.

After winning a jump ball, the Timberwolves were unable to hit a basket. Matt Barnes was fouled going for a rebound with 00.2-seconds left. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to end the game.

The Kings won the game 106-103.

Kings (2-1)

  • Cousins was the Kings leading scorer with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Rudy Gay had a big night 28 points, 11-for-20 shooting
  • Matt Barnes – the impact player of the game off the bench – 12 points including three 3-pointers to go with 9 assists
  • Ben McLemore bounced back from his troubles in the Spurs game scoring 13 points and shooting 50-percent from the field
  • The Kings improved their shooting by 6-percent over Thursday by shooting 45.9-percent (39-for-85) in the game.

Timberwolves (0-2)

  • Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points to lead the Timberwolves scoring attack. He is very difficult to stop when he wants to shoot.
  • Guard Zach LaVine had a big night putting up 21 points while shooting 50-percent from the floor
  • Karl-Anthony Towns added 15 points but the battle between him and fellow Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins was a non-event. They just did not match up much in the game
  • PG Ricky Rubio experienced a sprained elbow. Rubio was rumored to be a trade target of the Kings but Minnesota was reluctant to part with him until Kris Dunn is ready

Up Next

The Kings begin a five-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta. Sacramento will play five games in seven nights all in the Eastern time zone except for the Milwaukee game which is in the Central time zone.

Minnesota heads home to open their home season with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The Timberwolves will be looking for redemption after losing to Memphis in their season opener.

Timberwolves defeat Kings 101-91

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

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.”

Up next

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.