Kings 116, Timberwolves 108: Tyreke Evans Reminds T-Wolves Fans Why He Was Rookie of the Year

This is actually a Brad Miller video, not a still photo. Keep watching...keep watching...there! He moved! Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 tonight at Power Balance Pavilion, in front of a crowd of 12,279. Tyreke Evans led the way for the Kings with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists (against only 1 turnover). DeMarcus Cousins added 20 points (7-12 field, 6-7 line), Terrence Williams had a 12/12 double double off the bench, and Jimmer Fredette led all bench scorers with 19 points in 25 minutes. Western Conference Rookie of the Month Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points and added 5 assists. Kevin Love scored 23 hard-earned points for the Timberwolves.

Both teams got off to a strong offensive start, aided by the fact that neither defense was particularly aggressive or effective. The two teams combined for 63 first quarter points on 57% shooting (and 57% from beyond the arc). In spite of the productivity (and yes, let’s nitpick a 33 point 1st quarter for the Kings), the Kings failed to deliver the ball to DeMarcus Cousins in the low post for the first 8:15 of the game (Cousins converted the hoop the first time the Kings got him the ball down low). This while Minnesota’s low post was being “guarded” by Love and Brad Miller. During this same period, Love/Miller outscored Cousins/Thompson 18-4. This included 11 points in 8 minutes by Miller (3-3 from 3!), who also added 3 assists during this period. It was also at about this time that Marcus Thornton collided with Luke Ridnour while Thornton was trying to contest a fast break layup. Thornton took a hard kick to his leg and left the game with a calf strain. He did not return.

Thornton’s injury opened up minutes for Fredette, and he took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring 14 first half points and chipping in an open court steal. The Kings defense didn’t particularly improve in the 2nd quarter, but the overall offense looked crisp, as they scored inside and outside. The Kings wings repeatedly got to the hoop and converted. The Kings took a 65-58 lead into the half, thanks in part to Evans’ 13/4/4 performance. The Kings bench also turned in a nice half – aside from Fredette’s performance, Williams had 6/6 of his game total 12/12, and both Chuck Hayes and Hassan Whiteside(!) contributed plus minutes up front.

The 3rd quarter provided some challenges for the Kings. Minnesota’s zone defense created some issues, but the Kings also stopped hitting wide open shots (1-7 from 3 in the quarter on mostly good looks). Nikola Pekovic helped rally the Wolves, and by the end of the 3rd quarter (which went 28-22 Wolves), Minnesota had cut the lead to 87-86.

The first half of the 4th quarter belonged to Evans, who drove to the hole at will. Donté Greene was also making Love work very hard for his points (Greene had a very solid defensive run in the 2nd half after sitting the entire 1st half). Down the stretch of the 4th quarter, Evans, Greene, Cousins, Thomas, Williams and Fredette all made contributions, as the Kings may have delivered their best team-oriented closing to a game this year.

Musings, ramblings, and rantdumb thoughts:

  • If you watch Evans and Thomas work together, and if the Kings could land a legit small forward, you could sure envision an Evans/Thomas backcourt with Thornton as your super sub.
  • Brad effing Miller.
  • I wonder if Terrence Williams enjoyed sticking it to Adelman a little bit.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that Whiteside’s bank shot from the wing was intentional? I’m at 4.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that Ridnour’s bank shot from about the same spot was intentional? I’m at 10.
  • I’m for Jimmer shooting at about any time, with the notable exception being transition 3’s when no one on the Kings is under the basket (0-2 tonight).
  • I’m glad that the Kings did the video tribute for Miller, and it sure sounded like the fans gave him his due.
  • Three places where the college and pro game are officiated completely differently: Traveling, carrying the ball, and continuation plays – not even on the same planet.
  • Derrick Williams is going to become a good NBA player.
  • First guy off the bench when Fredette hits the step back jumper – DeMarcus Cousins.
  • One thing that has not changed about Adelman is that pained expression when he doesn’t like a call. Good times.
  • Webster alley-oop to Miller = bad idea.
  • Cousins is so good at sealing off underneath with one hand and catching the ball with the other.
  • Why did Evans shoot the technical instead of Thomas? (Smart said in his postgame presser that they go by who has the best FT% over the previous 5 games…OK.)
  • Is Pekovich going to be that guy that just gives Cousins fits throughout his career?
  • What do you like more – Jimmer’s shooting or the hard foul that he laid on Tolliver? I’ll take the shooting…barely.
  • Really good minutes for Whiteside tonight.
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