Wolves Fall 100-86 to Sacramento Kings

Shabazz Muhammad, the leading scorer for Minnesota, goes up for a shot in the Wolves loss.
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Megan Schuster
Web Editorial Assistant

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After coming away victorious in a must-win game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, the Wolves were back in action Thursday afternoon to face the Sacramento Kings. The Kings (2-1)—who were ranked eighth following the preliminary three games of Summer League—received a bye in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday.

Minnesota was looking to continue its fluid performance from Wednesday, and it seemed like the team just might be able to do it through the first three quarters. But the Kings pulled away behind a 14-0 run in the fourth, and the Wolves fell 100-86 to the Kings.

It was a close first quarter between the Wolves and Kings, with both teams showing off how good they are at their respective strengths. The Wolves showed their ability to attack the post with the big men Kyrylo Fesenko and Gorgui Dieng, and Zach LaVine’s solid court vision to feed the ball to them from the point position.

Sacramento exploited a weakness the Wolves have shown all Summer League, and that’s perimeter defense. The Kings hit on two early 3’s, one of which was from Ben McLemore, who led his team in scoring with nine points in the first and 22 points in the game.

LaVine started off the game strong for the Wolves, going 2-of-5 from the floor with six points, two assists and a blocked shot in the first. That wouldn’t be enough for Minnesota, though, as the Wolves finished the quarter down to the Kings 28-21.

Glenn Robinson III, who wasn’t in the starting lineup for the Wolves for the first time in Summer League, checked in for the second quarter and hit back-to-back 3’s. That put the Wolves within four points and gave a boost to the starters. He would finish the half a perfect 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, and had seven points.

The Wolves’ leading scorers through first two quarters were LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad, both of whom had big outings for the Wolves in prior games—LaVine in Wednesday’s game against Phoenix and Muhammad in the team’s first contest against the Dallas Mavericks. They would each close out the half with 10 points.

Gorgui Dieng looked poised to have his second double-double in two games as he went into halftime with eight points and seven boards, but Sacramento overcame those performances behind 14 points from McLemore. The Kings held onto their lead, and took it into the break up 55-47.

Though the Wolves didn’t close out the half in great fashion, they quickly turned things around entering the third quarter. Dieng had four fast points and a blocked shot within the first few minutes, and a slashing dunk in transition from LaVine put the Wolves back within four of the Kings.

Sacramento let the Wolves hang around for a little while, trading baskets through the middle of the third, but then the Kings started to pull away. With just over two and a half minutes left in the quarter, Sacramento matched it’s largest lead of the game at 11 points.

Robinson III and LaVine connected for an exciting fastbreak, with LaVine taking a long over-the-should pass from Robinson III and finishing on the offensive end. Quick plays in transition and a late 8-2 run from the Wolves cut the Sacramento lead down from 74-69 going into the fourth quarter.

A name that may be unfamiliar for most Wolves fans, Brady Heslip out of Baylor University checked in for Minnesota in the fourth. Heslip, a sharpshooter who is the all-time leading 3-point shooter in Baylor history, knocked down back-to-back 3s, putting the Wolves down just one.

After those baskets, though, Sacramento went on a 14-0 run. Minnesota’s defense had plenty of holes for the Kings to expose, and the players just couldn’t get shots to fall on the offensive end, even from point-blank range. The Wolves were down 13 with 3:45 to play in the game, and the team couldn’t put together a run.

The Wolves lost 100-86 on Thursday to the Sacramento Kings.

The Numbers Game

  • Gorgui Dieng has his second straight double-double on Thursday, finishing with 15 points and 12 boards.
  • Brady Heslip had 16 points against the Kings—as did Zach LaVine—and Heslip shot 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
  • The difference for the Wolves in this game was shooting percentage. The defense allowed Sacramento to shoot 60 percent from the floor, while Minnesota ended the game shooting 41 percent.