Postgame | Flip Saunders
Big Night From Wiggins Isn't Enough For Wolves Against The Kings
Wolves coach Flip Saunders said really all that needed to be said as he addressed members of the media following a 110-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night at Target Center.
“I don’t know what I can say that I haven’t already said already,” Saunders joked before taking questions.
Though that might have been sarcasm from Saunders, he has a point. This is quickly becoming a trend for the Wolves.
Minnesota pushed its losing streak to 10 straight games with the loss to the Kings in a game that looked very similar to a handful of other losses the team has had this season.
Saunders said earlier this week that he thought his team has played well over the last few weeks, even though it has nothing to show for its effort.
It was much of the same against the Kings as the game featured a wide range of positives amid yet another loss. Andrew Wiggins had a huge night showing the aggressiveness he seems to lack from time to time, Gorgui Dieng held his own against the mammoth DeMarcus Cousins all night, and Troy Daniels provided a much-needed spark of the bench.
“We’ve been so close,” Saunders said. “We just can’t seem to get over the hump.”
That was evident down the stretch as a couple different players missed crucial free throws with the Wolves trailing late in the game en route to the loss.
That loss wasted a huge night from Wiggins.
Wiggins had one the best games of his young career in the midst of the loss, most of his damage coming before halftime. He snapped for a team-high 27 points using a wide array of moves to get buckets. Those numbers only mean so much, though, as the effort didn’t translate to a win.
“He’s been playing really well,” Saunders said. “I’d say the only thing I was really disappointed with was that he got a little bit tired and bailed them out by taking some jumpers instead of … taking them to the basket. He’s got to keep that aggressiveness.”
Minnesota fell behind early after letting the Kings shoot nearly 78 percent in the first quarter. That said the team was able to claw back into the contest and actually knotted the game at 66-66 after halftime.
Sacramento then used an 11-0 run after the Wolves tied the game to open up a sizable lead that proved vital down the stretch.
“We made some plays to put ourselves in a position,” Saunders said. “You can’t let a team shoot 70 percent from the floor. I’m surprised we were even in the game. I was trying to figure out how that happened.”
Daniels is what happened. He provided a spark of the bench as the Wolves clawed back into the game late in the final frame. Daniels finished with 11 points while helping space the floor with his range. He said he is getting more and more comfortable with his role on this team.
“I know my job is to shoot the ball,” he said. “If I’m open just shoot it. I’m just trying to help the team any way I can.”
Postgame | Andrew Wiggins
Though the team made a late charge, in the end it came up short yet again.
“We’re right there,” Wiggins said. “We just need to start closing out these games. … I feel like once we close out one of these games it will really open the door for us.”
LEADER OF THE PACK
Andrew Wiggins had one of the best games of his career in the loss to the Kings, scoring a game-high 27 points to lead the Wolves. Wiggins was aggressive all night long and knifed his way to the hoop seemingly at will throughout the contest. He finished 11-for-22 from the floor while playing a team-high 41 minutes.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GAME
As the Wolves roared back into the contest late Thursday night, Target Center hit a decibel level that hasn’t been heard in that building in quite some time. A majority of the 13,337 fans in the building rose from the seats as Gorgui Dieng nailed a contested layup over DeMarcus Cousins. Though the final score wasn’t the result fans were hoping for, that moment gave a glimpse into what the future holds at Target Center.
-- Andrew Wiggins finished with a game-high 27 points against the Kings marking the first time in his NBA career that he’s scored in double figures in five consecutive games.
-- Andrew Wiggins also played a team-high 41 minutes against the Kings. He only came off the floor for two minutes in the first half.
-- Sacramento shot 77.8 percent in first frame en route to scoring an absurd 37 points. It led 37-29 after the first 12 minutes of the matchup against the Wolves.
-- A streaky start allowed the Kings to lead by as many as 13 points early in the game. Minnesota chipped away as the game progressed and cut the deficit to 60-58 heading into the locker room at halftime.
-- Troy Daniels played meaningful minutes for the first time in his career with the Wolves and had 11 points off the bench to spark a late rally. Daniels is a marksman from downtown and continues to show out when his number is called.
-- Minnesota actually took 22 three-pointers in the game — a much higher number in comparison to the rest of the season. Troy Daniels had a lot to do with that number as he finished 3-for-7 from long range.
Minnesota will practice Friday afternoon in preparation for the matchup against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. It will be the second matchup between the two teams in the last week. Utah stole the 100-94 win over the Wolves last week as Gordon Hayward snapped down the stretch.