In the second of a six-game road swing, the Sacramento Kings had a close encounter with the evenly matched Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Kings were clearly the better team in their 111-108 win Wednesday, but displayed some youthful ignorance in the final stretches of the game.
With the game virtually tucked away for Michael Malone’s squad, Sacramento handed Minnesota a number of offensive opportunities. Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins put up attempts early in the shot clock, which allowed the Timberwolves chances to come back. A couple of Kevin Love threes later and the T-Wolves were within two points late in the game.
However, even with the futile attempts at late-game clock management, the Kings were clearly the better team. In one of Sacramento’s best defensive games of the season, Minnesota struggled to string together any offensive consistency or structure for most of the game. Wednesday’s Timberwolves offense, especially with Ricky Rubio’s all-around lackluster efforts, looked like a jump-shooting team that couldn’t shoot the ball with consistency.
The Minnesota offense was led by just a couple strong performances, while multiple Sacramento players were key in the win.
Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay both offered impressive performances, as Gay’s jumper and Williams’ athleticism on the fast break made up a huge part of Sacramento’s offensive production. Cousins’ night started off slower than usual, but his 20 points and work on the glass gave Thomas and Gay the floor spacing they needed to hit a few threes each.
Williams and Quincy Acy gave some much needed life to the Kings defensively in earlier parts of the game. Williams turned stops into transition buckets and Acy was a solid post option while Cousins was out of the game.
Minnesota had trouble getting good possessions throughout the game. In one of his least productive games of the season, Rubio offered only five points and produced five turnovers.
Ultimately, with how well the Kings played tonight, it was their game to lose. Sacramento entered Minnesota with a tough matchup ahead of them and left with a well-deserved victory. Sacramento heads to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night to try and keep the momentum rolling.