Wells’ 3-Pointer Lifts Kings Past Wolves
Sacramento 93, Minnesota 91
MINNEAPOLIS, Dec 13 (Ticker) -- Thinking he may have cost his team a victory with a missed free throw, Bonzi Wells got an opportunity to redeem himself.
Wells nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Sacramento Kings won their third straight game, a 93-91 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On Minnesota's next possession, Kevin Garnett missed a turnaround jumper on the left baseline as the shot clocked expired and the Kings called timeout with 2.7 seconds remaining after Peja Stojakovic grabbed the rebound.
Mike Bibby inbounded in the frontcourt to Brad Miller, who dribbled toward the left sideline before dishing to Wells in the corner. Wells swished a high-arcing 3-pointer over Trenton Hassell as time expired to hand the Timberwolves just their second loss in their last seven outings.
"When I came out to catch (the inbounds), it was a lot higher than I wanted," Miller said. "KG (Garnett) did a good job, but when they came off, I knew (Wells) was in the corner because that was another spot that (Rick Adelman) was drawing up. You've just got to have trust in him and give him a chance. You play enough of these games and you realize that 2.7 (seconds) is a lot of time."
"We wanted to take the post-up away (from Wells)," Hassell said. "When Brad got it, he took a dribble, so I thought he was going to shoot it. I was off Bonzi too much, so I take that loss because I should have been hugging him in the corner. He made a great shot, but I shouldn't have given him that much space."
After trailing by 14 points in the second quarter, including a 10-minute span without a basket, Minnesota chipped away and used a 14-5 run in the fourth to take a 79-72 edge with 6:52 to play. Wally Szczerbiak scored nine consecutive points for the Timberwolves in the burst.
"If you've been in this league long enough, you know the home team is going to make a run at you," Adelman said. "I'm amazed when people think you get a 12-point lead in the first half and it's going to hold up. You'd like it to, but it doesn't work that way. They made the run at us and I just wanted us to play solid the second half."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim brought the Kings back by scoring 11 of their next 13 points, including 6-of-6 free throws and a 3-pointer with 1:27 remaining that cut the deficit to 87-86.
After Garnett made a pair of free throws, Bibby buried a jumper from the arc with 49 seconds left, tying the game, 89-89. Hassell put Minnesota back on top with 31 seconds remaining when he split two defenders for a layup.
"The biggest key is when they made their run to go up five in the fourth quarter, we came back at them and we closed the gap," Adelman said. "That was probably the difference in the game. You always want to give yourself a chance in the fourth quarter. That's the whole key. You give yourself a chance and things like what happened tonight will happen."
"They hit a couple of really tough shots (in the fourth quarter)," Jaric said. "The 3-point shot from Abdur-Rahim at the top and Bibby hit a triple and then the cream on the cake was the tough shot with Bonzi again. We did everything we were supposed to do."
Abdur-Rahim scored 19 points, Bibby had 17 and Stojakovic 14 for the Kings, who committed just six turnovers and avenged an 85-77 loss to the Timberwolves on December 4.
"Minnesota came in our building a week and a half ago and got a big win," Wells said. "We just wanted to return the favor."
"We've had some good battles with that team over the years," Szczerbiak said. "That's how the pendulum swings. Big win for them. Tough loss for us."
Szczerbiak scored 25 points, Garnett added 22 and Jaric 16 for Minnesota, which had a 44-32 rebounding edge.
"We started to get more aggressive in the second half," Garnett said. "We got some shots to fall. We put ourselves in the game and put ourselves in position to win and (Wells) hit a tough shot there. The moral of the story is, we continue to play hard throughout all adversity." "