Scouting Report: Wolves at Kings
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Wolves (23-42) at Sacramento (24-44) — 9 PM Sleep Train Arena
Where to Watch: No TV
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
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The Wolves had a rough go in Memphis, and they will try to improve their road trip tonight in Sacramento while also going for a three-game season series sweep against the Kings. Tipoff is set for 9 PM on 830 WCCO-AM.
The Kings haven’t had the best season, but they’ve won three of their last five contests, including big wins over the Clippers and the Bulls. They are coming off a 116-101 win over L.A. on Tuesday night. Sacramento is scoring at a good rate—99.7 points per game, good for 10th in the NBA—but they’re giving up a league-worst 104.8 PPG to their opponents.
DeMarcus Cousins is averaging a double-double for the second year, but his numbers are slightly down (17 PPG and 10 RPG) and his antics among coaches and teammates have been erratic and well-publicised. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 13.2 PPG, a step up from his solid rookie year when he earned 2nd-Team All-Rookie. Tyreke Evans, on the other hand, is posting a career-low average of 15.6 PPG; the converted small forward has declined in scoring every year since posting over 20 PPG his rookie year.
Last Time Out: Nov. 27, 2012
Sick of wearing his protective hand sleeve, Kevin Love played without its restrictions and recorded 23 points and 24 rebounds in helping the Wolves over the Kings on Nov. 27.
"The glove was pretty restricting for me," Love said. "Every day my hand is getting stronger. The ball still doesn't feel quite right in my hand, but it's getting better."
Love returned after missing the first nine games of the season due to a hand injury. His 24 rebounds were an NBA season-high.
"I knew he got a lot of rebounds, but I didn't know how many," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "It was one of the most complete games I've seen him play. He wasn't forcing anything. He passed the ball. He set screens. He did whatever we needed."
Luke Ridnour added 18 points along with Nikola Pekovic’s 16; Andrei Kirilenko had 14 and Malcolm Lee added 10.
Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins each scored 20 points for the Kings, and Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton both had 12 of their own.
Despite some inconsistent behavior, DeMarcus Cousins is still the Kings’ most potent offensive weapon and best rebounder. He’s averaging a double-double and can score near the hoop or from mid-range; he’s the ignition for an offense that is quietly the NBA’s tenth-most prolific.
He’ll be battling against Nikola Pekovic, who is just two games back from an injury that kept him out from nine games. He had a good first game back in a win over New Orleans (16 points and eight rebounds), but he shot just 3-for-9 in his latest contest against Memphis. The Wolves suffered at center without Pekovic, but now that he’s healthy, he gives Minnesota a very legitimate big, strong post player who is building a collection of moves. His production is essential to the Wolves’ success.
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
The Wolves are as close to full strength as they’ve been in weeks as both Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko returned to action on Sunday, and on Wednesday Chase Budinger practiced with the team for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in November. He is with the team and could play tonight in Sacramento, though he will be evaluated today to see how the knee responded from yesterday’s practice. For the Kings, forward Jason Thompson received stitches near his eye after receiving an elbow to the face against the Clippers and is questionable tonight against Minnesota.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Isaiah Thomas|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||Tyreke Evans|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||John Salmons|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Jason Thompson*|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||DeMarcus Cousins|