The Kings gave away an absolute gift in Minnesota. They couldn’t create any meaningful separation from the Wolves throughout the first three quarters, opening the door for D’Angelo Russell to take over late with 13 points in the final frame, leading to a 116-106 win for the home team.
This is the fourth straight loss in the row for Sacramento, but an absolute killer considering who it came against, and with San Antonio also losing Monday. The performance the Kings put up today was not befitting a playoff team.
The first quarter played out as you would expect from two teams with bad defenses. Minnesota looked pretty smooth in the half court, thriving thanks to Karl-Anthony Towns’ gravity. Meanwhile, the Kings got a lot of good looks, but couldn’t connect early. It took three minutes for them to score outside of transition.
The lone early offense came courtesy of Harrison Barnes, who once again got off to a hot start with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The non-Barnes Kings only made a third of their looks, however, so resulted in just a three-point lead after the first frame.
The cold shooting continued for Sacramento in the second quarter, as the team put up eight points in the first six minutes. Terence Davis, fresh off a career-best seven threes in the last game, had the confidence to keep shooting on Monday, though it resulted in four straight misses. He wasn’t the only one struggling, as the Wolves built an eight-point lead. Anthony Edwards and Juancho Hernangomez pushed the envelope for Minnesota, combining for 13 points in the period.
At that point, De’Aaron Fox decided to take control. He scored 11 straight points for the Kings to the end the quarter, bringing the score even at 55, 20 of those coming from the Sacramento guard.
Swipa with the hoop and the harm pic.twitter.com/WT3u13eKdK— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 6, 2021
The game remain evenly matched throughout the third quarter, Hield’s 3-point shooting complementing Barnes’ old-man game in the post against the wiry rookie Jaden McDaniels. The Kings played good initial defense on the Wolves, but they could not keep them off the offensive glass. Minnesota had seven offensive rebounds in the period, leading to eight points.
Sacramento’s normally good crunch-time offense was no match for Russell and the ice in his veins. The Kings pulled to within four in the final three minutes, but couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch. A disappointing outcome to start the road trip.