The Kings are back home for the final two games of the season, looking to end the season on a positive note and snap a 5 game losing streak tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves (6:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140). The Kings will be once again without Isaiah Thomas (who may be cleared to play in the finale on Wednesday) but the Timberwolves are even more shorthanded, with Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic all questionable to play.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rudy Gay vs. Corey Brewer
Normally this is a matchup that would heavily favor the Kings, even though Brewer is known as a good defender. Rudy was very rusty yesterday against the Clippers so hopefully we see him play better today. But Corey Brewer is coming off the best game of his career and one of the more improbable games in NBA history, as he scored 51 points in a win against the Houston Rockets on Friday. That's not a typo. Corey Brewer, of the 10.0 points per game career average, scored 51. That's simply remarkable.
1. Rookie Gorgui Dieng has gotten a lot of playing time lately as Nikola Pekovic has been in and out of the lineup with ankle issues and he's made the most of it, averaging 12.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.6 blocks as a starter. It should be noted that Dieng is already 24 years old and should be expected to make an impact sooner than other rookies, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's been impressive. He even hit the game winner in their last game against the Rockets, where he had his second career-game of grabbing at least 20 rebounds (both of which came against Houston).
2. As mentioned, the Wolves have their three best players possibly out tonight due to injury. If Love doesn't play, Dante Cunningham will likely start in his place. Dieng starts for Pekovic, and Robbie Hummel starts for Martin. Adelman does a good job of making undermanned teams play better than the sum of their parts though, so should all three of those guys be out, the Kings can't take them lightly. Sacramento will have a big size advantage in the post and should be able to get DeMarcus Cousins going whenever they want.
3. Tonight might be Sacramento's best chance for a win, and a chance to tie last season's 28 wins. However, even if they don't tie that record, this is a Kings team that is clearly better than last season's squad. Injuries to key players have held the team back, as has unparalleled roster turnover. Perhaps most impressive to me though is that despite the adversity and the losing record, this team has yet to give up on the season, playing very competitively against some very good teams.
for Rick Adelman in Sac.
The best coach we've had.
Kings 109, Timberwolves 98 as the Kings break the losing streak and give the home crowd one last win before the season ends.