Game 69 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

DeMarcus Cousins with a lay-up past Nikola Pekovic. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Timberwolves perspective, visit TrueHoop Network Affiliate A Wolf Among Wolves.

The book on the Timberwolves:  The Timberwolves’ season of promise has been derailed by injuries.  In the last month, they’ve won just three of their previous 14 games.  They currently hold just a half game lead over the Kings for the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference.

Did you know?  The Timberwolves have had 12 players miss a combined 286 games this season due to injury or illness.  Together, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love have sat out 71 of those contests.  That number will continue to rise with Love being out indefinitely with a broken hand.

Kings’ Speech: Tyreke Evans on how the Kings’ can match Tuesday’s performance against the Clippers – “Just come in and be aggressive.  We just played one of the top teams in the Western Conference.  Coming in against this team, we gotta be aggressive, come out the same way with a lot of energy and just try to bring it out with a win.”

Status Updates: James Johnson is not with the team due to personal reasons.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (24-44)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Minnesota Timberwolves Probable Starters (23-42)

PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Luke Ridnour
SF: Andrei Kirilenko
PF: Derrick Williams

C: Nikola Pekovic

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 99.7
  • Offensive Rating: 105.9
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 104.8
  • Defensive Rating: 111.3
  • Pace: 93.3

Timberwolves

  • Points Per Game: 94.4
  • Offensive Rating: 101.9
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 97.8
  • Defensive Rating: 105.6
  • Pace: 92.3

Three questions to ponder

1.  How does Toney Douglas follow up his performance in Tuesday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers?

Douglas put together his best game as a King two nights ago.  The fourth-year guard scored 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including making 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point land.  It’s no coincidence his late-game heroics coincided with a 38-point barrage from the Kings in the deciding and final frame.

2.  Will Nikola Pekovic’s pesky defense slow down DeMarcus Cousins? 

The Timberwolves center has never been afraid to get physical with Cousins.  As a result, the Kings starting center has been a non-factor in the rebounding category this season versus Minnesota.  In two games against the Timberwolves this year, Cousins has averaged just 4.5 rebounds.    The Kings will need Cousins to push back against Pekovic if they hope to pull away a victory tonight.

3.  Will Chase Budinger return to the court for the Timberwolves?

The 24-year-old forward could be back on the floor for the first time since early November.  The Timberwolves have listed him as questionable for tonight’s match-up with the Kings.  Budinger was expected to play a critical role in the Timberwolves’ projected turnaround this season.  But his body unfortunately had other plans for him after he tore the meniscus in his left knee.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.