Road Reaction: Minnesota Timberwolves 92, Sacramento Kings 80

 
After falling to the Chicago Bulls on opening night by six points, the Kings laid an egg in Minnesota, losing 92-80 to the short-handed Timberwolves.

Notes and Analysis

  • Keith Smart has some major work to do on his rotation.  Tonight in Minnesota, Smart used 12 players and had absolutely no continuity on the floor whatsoever.  Sometimes having too many options is a bad thing.
  • J.J. Barea was the hero of this game.  The Wolves struggled to pull away from the Kings early until Barea entered the game.  The former Dallas Maverick cut through the Kings defense, scoring at will and setting up his teammates.  Every time he left the floor, the Kings instantly cut into the Wolves lead.  Barea finished with a game-high 21 points and added five assists in the win.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is killing his team with early foul trouble.  It took him all of seven seconds tonight to pick up his first and for the second game in a row, he was limited to just 25 minutes of action.  If he has any hopes of becoming the dominant player most think he can become, he has to be smarter on both ends of the floor and avoid the cheap fouls that he wanders into on a nightly basis.
  • Jimmer Fredette played a total of six seconds in the opener.  When things continued to go south in the first half tonight, coach Smart called on No. 7 and he responded.  While his defense is still a major work in progress, he scored a quick six points in just four minutes, helping the Kings cut the Wolves’ halftime lead to single digits.  Smart came back to Jimmer instead of Aaron Brooks in the fourth and the result was not nearly as successful.  Jimmer failed to score and had a costly turnover in a pivotal point in the game.
  • Isaiah Thomas got off to a slow start, but a hot third quarter got him going.  The Kings starting point guard finished with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting in just 26 minutes.  If the Kings are going to win games, Thomas is going to need to find his offense earlier in contests.  He has a total of three assists through the team’s first two games, which is cause for concern.

  • Stat of the Night: The Kings held their opponent to just 92 points and 37-percent shooting and still lost by 12 points.  The defense is much improved, but the offense is all over the board.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. How does DeMarcus Cousins respond following a frustrating first outing in game one?

Cousins threw up a stinker for a second-straight game.  He finished with 11 points and four rebounds, but played only 25 minutes for the second consecutive night.  The Kings really need their main man in the middle to figure things out and quickly.

2. Do turnovers become a repeat problem for the Kings?

The Kings finished with just 11 turnovers on the night, a major improvement over what we saw in Chicago on Halloween.  Now if they could just hit a few shots…

3. Can the Kings get rolling in transition?

The Kings finished with a solid 19 points in transition.  They were probably a lot better than that on the evening, but when you shoot 36-percent from the field, no offensive category is going to stick out.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".