Wolves Fall To Kings, 111-108

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Wolves Fall To Kings, 111-108

Wolves head coach Rick Adelman warned his club that it shouldn’t get caught up in Sacramento’s 13-23 record going into the game. This was a talented squad that has won three of its last four contests.

It might have been that the Wolves didn’t listen to him, or perhaps it was because Rudy Gay was nearly unstoppable, scoring 33 points. Or maybe it was because the Kings shot 54.9 percent on the second night of a back-to-back. Or maybe a combination of all of the above. Either way, the Wolves fell 111-108 at the Target Center, putting them at 18-20 overall for the season.

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Wolves vs. Kings

“It’s not overlooking,” Adelman said. “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.”

For the majority of the game, the Wolves looked disengaged, but the team was able to put together a nice run in the fourth quarter that erased a one-time 14 point Kings’ lead to put the Wolves down just 104-102 after a Kevin Love 3-pointer. But Gay said no to that, as he hit a 3-poitner with 19.5 seconds left to put the Kings back up 107-102. Love responded with another 3-pointer, which was followed by two free-throws from DeMarcus Cousins. J.J. Barea hit a 3-point play with 4.6 seconds left, but point guard Isaiah Thomas nailed both free-throws after, to clinch the win for the Kings.

Defense was a factor in the first quarter that would end up having a lingering effect for Minnesota. It might not be evident by the score. Minnesota limited Sacramento to just 24 points, but allowed them to shoot 50 percent from the field. The Wolves trailed 24-23 at the end of the quarter. Love led Minnesota with eight points and five rebounds looking like he was well on his way to another double-double. Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer added five. Kevin Martin struggled against his former squad, shooting just 1-of-5 from the field. Gay led Sacramento with eight points. Gay was replaced by Derrick Williams eight minutes into the quarter and the former Minnesota forward received a nice applause from the crowd. D-Will had a steal and a big dunk in the quarter on his way to four points. The Wolves shot 44.4 percent from the field and just 50 percent (4-of-8) from the free-throw line.

It looked like the Wolves found their groove with 6:03 left in the half after Chase Budinger hit his only 3-pointer of the game, putting the Wolves up 40-38. After that, though, defense became an issue as the team played poor transition defense, allowing Sacramento open 3-pointers and lanes to the basket. The Kings went on a 20-7 run to head into the half, taking a 58-47 lead. Gay continued his hot play, finishing the half with a game-high 22 points while shooting 8-of-11 from the field. Williams played solid as well, finishing with 12 points off the bench, including two highlight reel alley-oops. The Kings shot 57.1 percent at the half compared to Minnesota’s mark of 41. Love led Minnesota with 10 points and six rebounds. The anticipated duo of Nikola Pekovic vs. Cousins wasn’t all that great. The two combined for just five points.

It was Thomas who stole the third for the Kings, scoring 11 points in the quarter. The Wolves tried to get back, getting back within six after a Martin layup, but the Kings continued to be lights out, somehow improving their shooting percentage by 0.3 to give them an 83-73 lead going into the fourth.

The Wolves remained out of it for the majority of the fourth, but ended up outscoring the Kings 35-28 in the fourth quarter. While it came down to the wire, it ended up being another close loss for Minnesota.

“Just a very poor game on our part,” Adelman said. “It took us three and a half quarters to get, when we had the energy to go out and challenge them. We’re not going to win that way.”

Gay finished the game with 33 points and was 12-of-19 from the field. Thomas finished with 26, while Cousins had a strong second half, ending his night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Williams led the bench with 16 points.

Love led Minnesota with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Pekovic, Martin and Barea all finished with 14. Alexey Shved added 13 off the bench, while Corey Brewer finished with 12. The Wolves shot 44.3 percent from the field, but they were outrebounded 45-35.

Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love

Although his efforts came up short in the fourth quarter, the only reason the Wolves were in the game in the final period was because of Love’s clutch 3-point shots. The forward finished with a team-high 27 points to go with 11 rebounds, five assists and a steal. He was 9-of-16 from the field and 4-of-6 from the 3-point line.

Highlight of the Night

With one minute left in the first quarter, Love hauled in a rebound and guess what? He heaved a full-court pass to a sprinting Brewer. Brewer hit the layup to put the Wolves within 24-20.

The Numbers Game

  • The Wolves are now 9-3 when they enter a contest one game under .500.
  • Finishing with 27 points and 11 rebounds, Love now has his league-leading 32nd double-double of the season.

  • Postgame Podcast

    Kings 111, Wolves 108

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  • It’s the stat that won’t go away for Minnesota. The Wolves are now 0-11 in games decided by four points or less.
  • Tonight marked Rudy Gay’s third career game with 30+ points, 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists.
  • Quotable

    “Yeah, I couldn’t find my rhythm. 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.” — Ricky Rubio on his team-high five turnovers. Rubio finishd with five points, five assists and a game-high three steals.

    Next Up

    The Timberwolves go on a real quick road trip, traveling to play the Toronto Raptors at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Wolves play at home the very next night at 7 p.m. against the Utah Jazz. Both games will be aired on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com