The Timberwolves delivered a strong fourth quarter and had six players tally double-digit points, but unfortunately it was too little too late. The Kings came out roaring, shooting 55 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from the three point line. Rudy Gay proved a dominating force with 33 points, and Minnesota suffered another loss with the 111-108 final score.
Prior to Wednesday, some players (and fans alike) may have written off the 13-23 Sacramento team as a comfortable win. The Kings are a team easy to dismiss… if one looks at their record. Their roster, however, tells a different story. With Gay, Demarcus Cousins, and Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento deserves more respect than its record suggests.
Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman said the following after the game:
“It’s not overlooking [...] Trust me, why are we overlooking anybody? We’re under .500. We talked about that team, they had lost a ton of games early. They beat, I said before the game. They’ve beaten Miami, they’ve beaten Portland, they’ve beaten Phoenix twice. What would give us the right to overlook them? To me that’s just not even an excuse. If they are, then something’s wrong.”
Minny hit a couple quick baskets to start the game, but it wasn’t long before Sacramento pulled ahead of the disjointed Timberwolves. Kevin Love’s shooting looked a bit off initially, but the All-Star forward kept pushing his way inside, and he ended up with an impressive 27 points and 11 boards, shooting just over 50 percent.
Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic each tallied 14 points on the night, but Pek struggled to connect with the net for three quarters. The big man banged his way to the basket several times, but he couldn’t get much of anything to fall. Across the board, missed layups were a problem for both teams Wednesday.
When all was said and done, defense proved the largest problem for Minnesota. The Wolves constantly allowed their opponents open stretches down the lane in addition to allowing the Kings open three-point shots. The 5’9″ Thomas was a thorn in Minnesota’s side. He may be one of the smallest players currently in the NBA, but he uses his size to his advantage. Thomas came up with driving layups time and time again. In addition to 26 points, he dished out seven assists and even grabbed three rebounds.
Ricky Rubio delivered a less-than-par performance, and he ended up splitting floor time with JJ Barea, who finished with 14 points and two assists. While Rubio did grab a game-high three steals, the point guard gave the ball right back with five turnovers.
“Yeah, I couldn’t find my rhythm,” said Rubio. “I couldn’t find my teammates. I committed too many turnovers…. (I) have to step up my game and keep working and trying to find myself.”
The Timberwolves will now head on the road to face Toronto Friday night before returning to the Target Center for a Saturday night showdown against Utah.