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Wolves Snap Cold Streak With Wild Win Over Kings

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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The Timberwolves are back in the win column.

Minnesota took down the Kings 105-104 in a wild double-overtime game in Sacramento on Thursday night.

The win snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Timberwolves. And just like that at 11-19, Minnesota is just two games back from a playoff spot. What might be overlooked in this game is that the Wolves beat a Kings team (now 12-19) that will also be competing for that playoff spot. As Wolves fans found out two years ago, tiebreakers are important.

Sacramento sharpshooter Buddy Hield pulled up for a game-winner as the clock expired.

“All you can do is watch – and it missed, thank God,” Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins said after the game.

It was a win without Karl-Anthony Towns, who missed his fifth game with a knee sprain. His replacement came up big. Gorgui Dieng finished with a season-high 21 points and 15 rebounds to go with two steals and a block. It was the fourth-straight game in which Dieng has scored double digits and his second of the last three in which he’s recorded a double-double.

Besides Dieng, no Wolves player was especially efficient. The team as a whole shot 34.6 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from the 3-point line. But Sacramento matched that, also shooting just 34.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from the 3-point line. Much of that had to do with Minnesota’s defensive energy, something we haven’t seen quite as consistently as of late.

“I’m very happy with where we were defensively,” Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said after the game. “I thought we did a lot of great things tonight – that’s the reason why we won the game. Our offense was not pretty tonight, but we found ways. That locker room deserves to feel good.”

Wiggins finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. While he never really found his rhythm shooting (4-for-19 from the field, 2-for-9 from deep), Wiggins was able to impact the game in other ways. This is the growth we’ve seen from Wiggins this season.

Robert Covington finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks – one coming in the second overtime to deny a Bogdan Bogdanovic layup.

Jeff Teague led the bench with 15 points and six rebounds.  

The Wolves now head home for two winnable games. On Saturday, they’ll face off against Cleveland team on a back-to-back (the Cavs play at Boston on Friday evening). And on Monday, the Wolves will have a Nets squad that hasn’t had Kyrie Irving since Nov. 14.

In the Western Conference, there are six teams within two games of the final playoff spot. Eventually, this group will start to separate itself. After a rough stretch for the Wolves, there’s still a huge opportunity for this group to make a run in the right direction.

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