Wolves Roll Past Kings, 92-54

Wolves Roll Past Kings, 92-54

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Four days ago, the Wolves gave up a double-digit lead to the D-League Select squad and dropped the first game of their Summer League schedule. Now, after an authoritative 92-54 win over the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the league championship tournament, they’ll get their chance at payback.

Minnesota earned the 13th seed out of 22 teams after going 1-2 in the three-game preliminary round, having held control of both losses before letting it slip away. But in the last two games, both wins over Miami and Sacramento, the Wolves have been exceptional from the field and able to keep control in the third and fourth quarters. On Wednesday, the Wolves never let the Kings get a chance to recover after building a 35-point lead in the third and building a lead as big as 43 in the fourth.

Now, the Wolves will go right back at it on Thursday with a 5:30 p.m. CT start against the D-League Selects at Cox Pavilion.

“We were kind of pressured, but it was a lot of rookies, it was our first game,” rookie Shabazz Muhammad said of that first meeting with the NBADL squad. “We’re getting used to it.”

Muhammad had his best game statistically with the Wolves on Wednesday against Sacramento, dropping a game-high 17 points and hitting 3-of-4 shots from distance. He scored 13 of those points in the third quarter alone on 5-of-6 shooting.

“Just getting more of a grasp for what’s what,” Summer League coach David Adelman said about Muhammad. “Where to be and not mess up spacing and little things that maybe in the past he didn’t have to worry about. Just another step of growth.”

But he wasn’t alone. The Wolves shot 53.8 percent from the field and, once again, were connecting from the 3-point line. Minnesota was 11-of-20 from distance and had six players connected from the outside.

The first Wolves player to catch fire was Demetri McCamey. He opened up the night 5-of-6 from the field and had 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Lorenzo Brown and Brandon Paul followed suit, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench. Kee Kee Clark and Othyus Jeffers each added eight, and Mychel Thompson scored seven on 3-of-4 shooting.

On the flip side, The Kings were cold throughout the night.

Will Clyburn, who came through Minnesota during the league-wide Draft workouts in late-May, was the lone bright spot for Sacramento. He had 15 points and shot 5-of-9 from the field. The rest of the team combined to shoot 15-for-58.

Lottery rookie Ben McLemore had a tough time breaking through. He finished 0-for-8 with one point on the night in 21 minutes of play.

For Adelman, the key from here on out is seeing these players develop and get better each day. Whether the team wins the Summer League title or not is irrelevant—the Wolves hope that these guys continue to get better each day. The catch is if that happens, there’s a good chance Minnesota could make a run through this tournament.

They’ll get their next challenge on Thursday against a D-League squad that got rest on Wednesday. For the players, having the extra incentive of winning a title at the end of the week only helps.

“That makes it way more competitive,” Muhammad said. “Guys out here who are playing really good defense, making better plays, which is a good thing. I think it’s a good thing they made a playoff system.”

Leader of the Pack

Shabazz Muhammad had his best statistical game with the Wolves on Wednesday, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and finishing with a game-high 17 points. He shot 3-of-4 from distance and had four rebounds and an assist to go with his scoring production. But from a basketball standpoint, Adelman said the biggest positive is how Muhammad is developing each game regardless of his scoring stats. Everyone’s shot was falling tonight, Adelman said, but the way Muhammad is playing on the defensive end as well as getting in position for defensive rebounding is improving throughout Summer League. “If he had 25 the first game and today he had seven turnovers and took 10 bad shots, that’s a bad week,” Adelman said. “His week is going well. He’s getting better and better.”

Highlight of the Game

Muhammad’s third quarter was the highlight of the night. He entered with four points in the first half, but by the end of the 10-minutes Summer League frame Muhammad had 13 points, hit three 3-pointers and brought down three of his four rebounds. He shot 5-of-6 during the third quarter alone.

The Numbers Game

  • The Wolves held the Kings to 29.9 percent shooting, including 3-of-17 from 3-point range. They also capitalized on 20 Kings turnovers.

  • Minnesota is still having some turnover issues this week, but they were scattered and not quite so prevalent on Wednesday against Sacramento. The Wolves had 19 against the Kings after averaging 25 per game over the three preliminary round contests.

  • Demetri McCamey started out 5-of-6 from the field and, at one point, was shooting 70 percent from the field for the tournament. After shooting 1-for-3 down the stretch, he is now shooting 65.0 percent for the week. He is, however, still shooting 72.7 percent from 3-point range this week.

  • Six different players hit from 3-point range for the Wolves on Wednesday night. The team finished 11-of-20 from distance.

  • Rookie Ben McLemore finished 0-for-8 from the field with one point on the night.

  • Quote of the Night

    “In all honesty, I don’t’ care. I just like seeing guys get the opportunities and play well. Obviously not all these guys will play for us next year, but to look them up in six months and seeing them get paid somewhere, because they deserve to get paid, that’s the cool part.” — Wolves Summer League coach David Adelman on the importance of player development and exposure over winning the tournament championship

    Next Up

    The Timberwolves advance to take on the D-League Selects on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the championship portion of the tournament. The D-League Selects beat the Wolves 83-81 on Saturday in the teams’ first game of Summer League and ended the preliminary round with a 3-0 record and the fourth seed in the tournament.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.