clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kings improve to 2-1, defeat Timberwolves 106-103

New, comments

If the season ended today, the Kings would be in the playoffs.

Kimani Okearah

It’s a fun time to be a Kings fan. No, really, I mean that.

We’re all trying to figure out if the 2016-17 Sacramento Kings are any good, and that unknown is fun. These games have been fun to watch. This effort and defensive focus has been fun to watch. None of us know if this very-very-early season ‘success’ will amount to anything, but again, I’m enjoying the ride so far.

Tonight’s 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves was fun. It had its ups, downs, bad play, good play, but ultimately it felt like more forward progress.

The Kings started this game with as sloppy a first half as we’ve seen all season. The offense was ground to a halt as Ty Lawson couldn’t get anything going against Ricky Rubio. Gorgui Dieng forced DeMarcus Cousins into some bad shots, Rudy Gay was forcing a lot of contested mid-range jumpers and / or long two’s, etc. It was old bad familiar Kings basketball, with a slightly improved defense. To the Timberwolves’ credit, and more specifically, Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, they had a stellar offensive first half. A lot of deep threes, a lot of contested jumpers, and they were all going in.

The Kings were fortunate to be down just 11 at the half, but I felt oddly comfortable going into the second half because the Timberwovles were bound to cool off offensively, and the Kings were bound to figure something positive out offensively. The 11-point lead was far from insurmountable against the young T-pups.

Dieng picked up two early fouls to start the third quarter, and after he subbed out, the Kings went on a ridiculous 24-1 run in what would ultimately turn into a huge 31-12 third quarter in favor of the Kings. Matt Barnes was phenomenal. DeMarcus Cousins was his typical paint-bully self, and Rudy Gay ditched the mid-range for the paint, and the Timberwolves just couldn’t match up. For the first time in a long time, the Kings were on the positive end of that ‘veterans wearing out a young team’ narrative. The Wolves lost focus, got flustered, and the Kings veteran crew took advantage.

The Wolves didn’t back down, however, and after a post-timeout report from Kayte Christensen, I started getting nervous.

Kayte reported something along the lines of ‘DeMarcus Cousins was fired up during the last timeout, saying that last years’ team would blow a lead like this, and we have to finish strong’, or something of a similar sentiment.

I got nervous because as soon at Kayte said that, the lead started to shrink, and shrink, and shrink until it was entirely gone.

I feel compelled to shoutout Ben McLemore here. Ben hit a series of huge shots during the Wolves’ comeback allowing Cousins and Gay a few more minutes to rest on the bench. This game was slipping away from the Kings, but McLemore did the best he could to prolong that comeback as long as possible. Well done.

Cousins, Gay, Barnes, and co. would return, and while the game got VERY close down the stretch, the Kings did it. Rudy Gay had a huge jumper. Ty Lawson hit a huge three. Matt Barnes made a huge block on Karl-Anthony Towns. Veteran players made plays. How refreshing is that? The Kings won. The Kings didn’t let it slip away. 2-1 on the season for the good guys.

The Kings have been fun this week. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m going to enjoy that while I can.