CK Press Box Report: Sacramento Kings 106, Minnesota Timberwolves 103
DeMarcus Cousins may have played his final game of the 2013-14 NBA season on Sunday. Fortunately for the Sacramento Kings, it was one of his best.
The Kings starting center racked up 35 points, six assists and 15 rebounds in a 106-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. However, Cousins picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, meaning that he will be automatically suspended by the NBA for Wednesday’s finale against the Phoenix Suns barring a successful appeal.
“I feel for him,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said after the game. “He has made a concerted effort to handle his emotions and not to get that last technical. Obviously, we’ll try to do whatever we can to get that rescinded, but it’s disappointing. I know it meant a lot to him and he was making great strides in that area. It’s unfortunate but we’ll see what we can do with the league.”
With 1:13 remaining in regulation, Cousins got T’d up by referee J.T.Orr for protesting a call that didn’t go his way. The tech came at a timely point in the game where they Kings held a comfortable 100-94 lead.
Instead of letting his emotions get the best of him, Cousins responded by scoring his 33rd point of the game on a two-handed dunk on one the Kings’ final possessions. He would later make two free throws with 5.2 seconds left in the game to seal the deal for the Kings on Sunday.
Outside of Cousins, the Kings got reinforcements in the form Isaiah Thomas. After missing the last 10 games with a right quad contusion, the 25-year-old point guard returned to the Kings’ starting lineup. In his return, Thomas played 30 minutes and finished with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.
“It was great to see him back out there and I thought we played well off of each other,” teammate Ray McCallum said of having Thomas back in the lineup. “Having two point guards is tough for the other team to defend. He was there to find me sometimes and I tried to find him. We were having constant communication just trying to figure out ways to better the team.”
With Thomas back in the lineup, McCallum returned to the Kings’ bench. He played well as a reserve, scoring seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with six assists in 28 minutes of play.
The Timberwolves were led by Kevin Love, who finished with 43 points and 11 rebounds in defeat. The game also potentially marked Rick Adelman’s final visit to Sacramento. Adelman is reportedly considering retirement after 20-plus years as a head coach in the NBA. He coached in Sacramento for eight seasons, amassing the most wins in franchise history.
The Kings move to 28-53 and 17-23 at home. The win ends a five-game losing streak for the Kings, who close out the year Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins struggled with foul trouble early, but that didn’t stop him from posting a huge night. Sacramento’s starting center dropped in 35 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, while notching his 53 double-double of the season. Gorgui Dieng did have a solid night against Cousins, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
- Ben McLemore had a quiet first half, but finished with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from behind the line. McLemore came out aggressive in the second half on both ends of the floor.
- Isaiah Thomas returned to action after missing 10 straight games with a deep thigh bruise. Even with a bum leg, he ran circles around Ricky Rubio, scoring 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting and handing out four assists in 30 minutes.
- With Thomas back, rookie Ray McCallum came off the Kings bench to drop in 11 points and six assists in 28 minutes. McCallum hit a pair of 3-pointers at the midway point of the fourth quarter that gave the Kings an 88-82 lead. This duo could be really good together next season if they get the chance.
- Jason Thompson started for Reggie Evans and did the dirty work tonight for Sacramento. The veteran finished with six points and 11 rebounds, but fouled out at the 2:26 mark of the fourth.
- With Rudy Gay sidelined with back issues, Derrick Williams got the start. The former Timberwolves forward finished with 13 points and four rebounds after going 12 straight games without scoring in double figures. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft is not having the finish to the season that anyone expected.
- Stat of the Night: Despite the huge night, Cousins picked up his 16th technical foul of the season with 1:13 remaining in the game. Barring a call from the NBA offices in the next few days, Cousins will miss the Kings’ finale on Wednesday against the Suns. No one was more disappointed with the tech than Cousins. It was his first technical since Feb. 25 against the Houston Rockets, a string of 21 games.
Quote of the Night
DeMarcus Cousins on how he feels heading into the offseason:
“I think the future is bright. I’m with Malone until the end – he knows that. He has my back, I’ve got his. You’re going to be seeing him for awhile until he gets rid of me because it won’t be my choice.”
Video shot and edited by Kimani David.