The Kings will not end the season on a 7 game losing streak, thanks to a huge effort from DeMarcus Cousins and company. The Kings outscored the Wolves 59 to 51 in the second half to come back from 10 down and win 106 to 103.
DeMarcus Cousins was magnificent, scoring 35 points on 13-21 from the field to go with 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. He was incredibly active on both ends of the floor, drawing double teams and altering shots. In what was a serious downer though, Cousins was whistled for a technical foul late in the 4th, which is his 16th of the season. Cousins had gone more than a month without being whistled for a technical and had hoped to go the entire season without another one, since it would mean a suspension. The technical itself seemed to be rather borderline, and there's still a chance that it can be rescinded by the NBA. However if it is not, this will have been the last game of what has been a pretty great season for Cousins, one in which he has become a legitimate star.
For Minnesota, Kevin Love tried and failed to one-up teammate Corey Brewer's 51 points from the other night, only scoring 43 on 12-23 shooting with 11 rebounds. Rookie Gorgui Dieng continued to impress in Nikola Pekovic's absence, scoring 21 points to go with 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. On an interesting note, the rookie Dieng is actually several months older than DeMarcus Cousins.
Besides Love and Dieng, the Kings did a good job of shutting down Minnesota's offense, holding them to 39.8% from the field. Kevin Martin was 0-8, Ricky Rubio 0-4, Corey Brewer 2-8 and J.J. Barea 2-11.
Besides the fantastic performance from Cousins, the Kings got an exceptional game from rookie Ben McLemore, who scored 19 points on 6-11 from the field, along with 2 blocks. McLemore was aggressive in taking it to the hoop as well, and got to the line 5 times.
The Kings welcomed back Isaiah Thomas for the first time in 8 games, and while Thomas looked a bit rusty (mainly from the three point line where he was 1-5), he still scored 14 points on 6-13 shooting to go with 4 assists. Ray McCallum transitioned nicely to the bench role, adding 11 points to go with 6 assists and just 1 turnover. Thomas and McCallum played some meaningful minutes together as well, which was nice to see.
The Kings as a team shot 50% from the field, outrebounded Minnesota 47 to 41, had 25 assists (really high for this team) and had 6 steals and 6 blocks.
This might have been Rick Adelman's last time as a coach in Sacramento, with speculation rampant that he is to retire after the season. What better way to send him off than seeing the Kings win, something he helped to do so often while he was here.
The Kings are now guaranteed to not have a worse record than last season with this being their 28th win, and a chance to improve it and spoil Phoenix's playoff hopes on Wednesday in the final game of the year.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Canis Hoopus.