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Kings vs. Timberwolves Preview: Another Winnable Game

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Can the Kings mess around and start a little winning streak tonight?

Kimani Okearah

It feels trivial writing about basketball today in light of yesterday’s horrific helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zabayan. Our condolences to all the families impacted by this tragedy.

Others have written about the lives lost yesterday better than I could. If you’re looking for celebrations of Kobe’s basketball career, or John Altobelli’s coaching career, or Gianna, the heir to the Bryant basketball legacy, or Will’s beautiful words on the matter from this morning, they aren’t hard to find. It’s a sad day.


When: Monday, January 27th, 5:00 PST

Where: Target CenterMinneapolis, MN

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

The Kings were able to break their 6-game losing streak with a much-needed 98-81 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

I understand that the Kings played one of the few teams in the NBA that they might actually be better than, but I thought Luke Walton’s new rotation looked good on Friday night. Bogdan Bodganovic didn’t have a particularly strong game in his first start of the season, but I thought the ball movement among the starters was better than it’s been, and Buddy Hield provided a necessary spark off the bench in one of his most complete games of the season.

The 15-31 Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t much better than the Chicago Bulls, so the opportunity for another Kings victory tonight is there.

What the Chicago Bulls didn’t have that the Timberwolves do is an interior force like Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT is having a monster season, and without Richaun Holmes, the Kings don’t really have an answer for him defensively. Marvin Bagley is still listed as day-to-day, but unless something changes before tip-off, I don’t expect him to play in this one either.

The Kings signed Dewayne Dedmon to be that guy this summer. After an atrocious start to the season that saw him fall completely out of the rotation and on to the trade block, Dedmon is back in the starting lineup by necessity. I think he’s been playing a little better recently, and his defense has been less troubling than his offense overall. The Kings will need a competent game from him tonight.

Offensively, the strategy for the Kings remains the same — push the ball and take good shots. It’s simple, yet something the Kings haven’t been able to do consistently this season.

What the Kings need more than anything is to start feeling good about themselves again. It felt like organizational confidence was at an all-time low before the Bulls win on Friday relieved some pressure. Another solid win in Minnesota tonight could nudge them a little further in the right direction.

Prediction:

Kings win 107-98.