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Kings 86, Timberwolves 99: Kings Get Killed in 2nd Half Yet Again

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This game was competitive until the latter stages of the 4th quarter, as Sacramento could get nothing going from its star players offensively, and Minnesota began hitting a barrage of three pointers. Kevin Love dominated inside and out, with 33 points and 11 rebounds, and Luke Ridnour looked like an All-Star, scoring 25 (including 4-4 from 3PT) and dishing 9 assists. Ricky Rubio also added a near triple double with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

The Kings had a season high 20 assists, but nobody on the team scored more than 12 points. Tyreke Evans dished 10 assists and had 8 rebounds, but he only scored 9 points on 3-11 shooting. Marcus Thornton again struggled since his return from injury, scoring 12 on 4-12 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins was 5-8 but left the game late in the 4th after getting hit in the face by Nikola Pekovic.

The Kings received good contributions from their bench, particularly Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson (both with 12 points on good shooting), but with their starters struggling offensively, the Kings again had trouble getting anything going on offense. They also continuously let Minnesota get open looks from three on defense, and once again struggled to hit their own threes. Jimmer Fredette continues to be in a long range shooting funk, going 0-3 from long range, with two of those attempts being wide open.

The Kings have had only one game all season where the whole team seemed to be in sync, and that was against the Lakers to start the season. Ever since, the team has fallen off a cliff on both ends of the court. I don't envy Keith Smart's job, having to put a new offensive system in place with almost no practice time and a bunch of road games, but I also do not like that our rotation is relatively similar despite it obviously not working. Jason Thompson is clearly outplaying J.J. Hickson at this point, on both ends of the court. Isaiah Thomas, who didn't even see a minute of court time, had been playing better than Jimmer, and John Salmons continues to struggle while taking shots outside of the offensive flow.

Watching Minnesota, another young rebuilding team, they already have an identity. It helps that they have a consistent star in Kevin Love, something the Kings can't claim to have at this point. But the Timberwolves look for the open man to a fault, and also did a good job of helping each other out on defense despite not having many good individual defenders.

Thus ended a 1-4 road trip, that featured at least three very winnable games (Toronto, Houston and Minnesota). The schedule over the next week is even tougher, against better competition, and if they keep playing like they are now, it's conceivable they'll lose all of these upcoming games, and the season will already be essentially lost.