The Kings kicked off their four-game northern roadtrip with a 119-96 shellacking against the Minnesota Timberwolves that showcased ugly offense (41% shooting), ugly defense (56% opponent shooting), and uninspired performances by the Kings youth.
Sacramento’s old blood led the way—Zach Randolph had 15 and 9 boards, George Hill added 16 points, and Kosta Koufos had 11 and 8—while the youngsters all struggled against Minnesota’s hyperathletic lineup. Buddy Hield had 10, and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 9, but the Sacramento players with less than 3 years of NBA experience shot a combined 17-49 from the field.
Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster performance with 30 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks on 11-16 shooting, while Andrew Wiggins added 22 points and Jimmy Butler with 21 points and 9 assists.
A competitive back-and-forth first quarter started showing signs of the impending blowout when the Wolves went on a 15-5 run and led 32-22 at the end of the period. The Kings pulled off a strong run towards the conclusion of the first half—a layup from Vince Carter brought the Kings within 52-47—but a flurry of threes from Wiggins and Jeff Teague (capped off by a half-court heave at the buzzer) put the game comfortably back in Minnesota’s control.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit canishoopus.com.
The Kings have a few days off before facing the Raptors in a Sunday-hey-didn’t-we-just-do-this?-matchup in Toronto.
- De’Aaron Fox’s leg met Town’s knee on unfriendly terms mdiway through the first, and he was pulled from the rest of the game with a quad contusion. In his 7 minutes, he recorded 2 points, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers. The injury didn’t appear serious, and with the Kings off until Sunday, hopefully he’s healthy before the Kings play Toronto.
- Dave Joerger waved the white flag halfway through the fourth quarter and ran with a younger lineup for the rest of the game, but Tom Thibadeau stuck with his starters throughout nearly the entire contest. It wasn’t until the final two minutes that Towns, Wiggins, Teague and Butler finally sat for good despite a comfortable lead.
- The Kings didn’t kill themselves with turnovers - they finished with a 24/14 assist/turnover ratio - but Minnesota had 12 steals and 9 blocks and played solid enough defense.