Kings 97, Timberwolves 108: Three good quarters can't outshine one terrible one

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings outscored the Timberwolves in every quarter but the third, in which Minnesota outscored Sacramento 31-14. The Kings were nearly able to come back, but a missed Rudy Gay layup and a dagger three by Ricky Rubio sealed their fate.

Sacramento dropped their third straight thanks to one sloppy quarter and a bunch of bad defense.  The Kings outscored the Timberwolves in three of the four quarters, but it was the one bad one that did them in.   Minnesota started the quarter on a 21 to 6 run and finished it 31 to 14, turning a three point halftime deficit into a 14 point lead heading into the final frame.

Rudy Gay led the way for Sacramento with 24 points, 22 of which came on 8-11 shooting in the first half.  The problem however was that Gay only got three field goal attempts in the entire second half, and one of them was a breakaway layup that could have tied the game at 97 but instead rolled out.  The Wolves scored on back-to-back possessions after that, including a Ricky Rubio dagger three.

DeMarcus Cousins came back for Sacramento after serving a one-game suspension and had a very good game overall, with 21 points, 17 rebounds, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.  Defensively though, he had trouble with the very physical Nikola Pekovic, who scored 20 points on 8-12 shooting.

Defense was a problem for the Kings, particularly doing it without fouling.  The Timberwolves got to the line 38 times to Sacramento's 21, one of the two major areas of difference in the game, the other being turnovers.  Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Kings, and tonight was no different.  Sacramento gave up 27 points off of 19 turnovers while forcing just 10 miscues of their own.  Ben McLemore was a prime culprit, with 5 of his own.  While the rookie did shoot better than he did in L.A. (7 points on 3-7 from the field), he had a rough time guarding former King Kevin Martin.  Martin ended with a game-high 26 points.

The Kings have one more home game before embarking on a season-long 7 game road trip.  That game is Monday against Tyreke Evans and the New Orleans Pelicans.

For the opposing perspective, visit the magnificent Canis Hoopus.

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