Wolves Sharp Shooting Downs Kings
Wolves Top Kings 99-86
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate
The Timberwolves needed a jumpstart on Monday night at Target Center. Trailing the Sacramento Kings by eight in the first quarter and struggling from the floor, the Wolves looked for a steady hand to get the offense going.
Guard Luke Ridnour provided the spark.
Ridnour finished with 25 points and nine assists on Monday, finished 10-of-14 from the field and helped lead the Wolves to a 99-86 win over the struggling Kings.
Minnesota handed Sacramento its seventh loss in eight road games this season, due in large part to Ridnour’s strong presence in the back court. It was his third consecutive game starting alongside Ricky Rubio at essentially the traditional shooting guard position.
"I just got good looks," Ridnour said. "I was able to knock some down, and more importantly we know this game—and wins in this game are big games for us. We just want to come out and get these two."
It was a standout performance for Ridnour, who has quietly been an effective throughout the season. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor this season and is averaging 11.9 points per night.
“He was just so good,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He made a lot of shots, he defended well. He’s a tough kid.”
But he wasn’t alone. Forward Kevin Love again provided a double-double—his 13th straight to start the season. He is the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1992-93 to start the year with 13 straight double-doubles. Love finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds on the night. It is the first time in his career that he’s put up three straight 30-point games.
The win gives Minnesota (5-8) its second win in three games heading into Wednesday’s home contest against Detroit.
Love said night in and night out the Wolves continue to work together on the floor.
"My teammates have really set me up; they've set me up well," Love said. "I'm getting in a good rhythm, and the biggest surprise for me is that my three-point shot feels great; it's just not knocking it down."
Ellington also put forth a stellar showing, tallying 15 points on the night, including eight points in the fourth quarter. He finished 6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Minnesota (5-8) as a whole finished a combined 10-of-26 from behind the arc.
"Wayne (Ellington) was great," Adelman said. "He has been really good the last few games. He is very tough, he is aggressive, and he doesn't back down."
Ellington has scored 28 points combined in his last two games on 63 percent shooting.
Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Francisco Garcia led the way for the Kings (4-10) as each scored 12 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 10 points and John Salmons finished with 11.
Rubio again put up a solid night in his third straight start, finishing with nine points and adding eight assists. Ridnour and Rubio, who made up the Wolves’ starting back court, ended the night with 16 assists.
Minnesota took the lead for good on a Wes Johnson finger roll with 1:34 to play in the third quarter. Johnson’s basket gave the Wolves a 63-62 lead en route to the 13-point victory. Minnesota shot 58 percent in the fourth quarter.
From that point forward, the Wolves were in control. Minnesota took a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, then ballooned the lead to 16 with 50 seconds left.
“We’re just helping each other,” Ellington. “I think I said it before, there’s not really a one on one matchup. We’re all helping each other and covering for each other, and I think that’s really helping.”
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