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Kings vs. Timberwolves Preview: SEGABABA problems

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Oh look, another back-to-back...

Willie Cauley-Stein of the Sacramento Kings looks at his former Kentucky teammate, Karl-Anthony Towns. Kimani Okearah - SactownRoyalty.com

We’ve been talking about the difficulty of the Sacramento Kings schedule all year, and games like the one they are going to play tonight in Minnesota against the Timberwolves are a prime reason why.

The Kings flew into Minnesota last night after defeating the Mavericks 120-113 in Dallas for tonight’s SEGABABA (SEcond GAme of a BAck to BAck), marking their 6th SEGABABA of the season, and we’re only in December. It’s a good thing that this crew is a Superteam, Just Young.

The Kings are 2-3 through their first five SEGABABA’s this season, and I’m going to keep typing SEGABABA in this game preview as often as I can because I like the way it sounds in my head. SEGABABA.

Who, What, Where, and When:

Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

When: Monday December 17, 2018. 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET.

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

Tired Legs

We’ve already talked about the SEGABABA problem, but the Kings played their starters a lot of minutes in Dallas on Sunday night. It was their first game without Marvin Bagley, which meant more minutes for Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein. In fact, every single Kings starter played above their season average last night, so if there was ever going to be a game where your Sacramento Kings came out flat or tired, it’s on a SEGABABA after logging as many minutes as they did last night.

No excuses, and all that tough guy stuff, but this is the storyline tonight. The Timberwolves owe the Kings a loss, too, after the Kings defeated them 141-130 in Sacramento on December 13th.

Nemanja Bjelica Revenge Game Part Three

After the Kings defeated the Timberwolves 141-130 on December 13th, Nemanja Bjelica admitted that he really wanted to win this game against his former team.

The Kings have actually played the Timberwolves twice this season and won both games by double-digits. In those two games, Bjelica averaged 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 28 MPG, shooting .400 from 3 and .536 from the field. Go get em’ again, Belly.

Missing Marvin

I watched the Kings bench unit closely against the Mavericks on Sunday night. It was the Kings’ first real test to see how that bench would survive without Marvin Bagley’s scoring and aggressiveness.

The Kings more or less matched the Mavericks with their bench unit in the first half, and actually extended the lead with their play in the second half. In Bagley’s absence, Joerger went small, using Justin Jackson and Troy Williams on the wing with Kosta Koufos in the middle instead of giving the Kings a more traditional power forward look with either Harry Giles or Skal Labissiere.

Fortunately for the Kings, as soon as Bagley left the lineup with his unfortunate knee injury, Yogi Ferrell started to find his rhythm offensively, and his scoring punch off the bench is giving the Kings a fighting chance until the starters check back in, particularly if Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to start while Iman Shumpert is out with a hip contusion.

Protect The Rock

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a classically steady defensive team under head coach Tom Thibodeau. They’ll block shots, they’ll force turnovers, they go for every tip, deflection or steal with discipline. They rank 10th in the league in opponent turnover percentage, 10th in blocks, 5th in steals, and 3rd in personal fouls, so don’t expect anything easy because they won’t give it to you.

The Kings take care of the ball surprisingly well for a team that plays as fast as they do, but they still need to be careful against a team like the Timberwolves. If they do have tired legs, they can’t let that manifest itself in sloppy offense. Protect the ball and play your game, and they could hand the Timberwolves their 3rd loss to the Kings this season. In the Western Conference, every game is important.

Prediction

Kings win 118-107 and Bjelica buries the Timberwolves for good.

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Enjoy SactownRoyalty’s #Lensface episode from the Kings 141-130 shellacking of the Timberwolves on December 12th at home: