Road Reaction: Timberwolves 86, Kings 84
With time expiring, Sacramento Kings forward Donté Greene let fly a potential game-winning three. Unfortunately for Greene and company, the long-ball rimmed out and the Minnesota Timberwolves escaped with a two point win at home, 86-84.
Marcus Thornton led the Kings in scoring with 22 points, but it was Jimmer Fredette who nearly saved the day.
Recently, the rookie guard has played sparingly. But Fredette came out in the fourth quarter scorching hot tonight. He scored 13 points, including three straight three-point shots. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Kings went on to lose in dramatic fashion.
Nikola Pekovic filled in nicely for the suspended Kevin Love. The Timberwolves big man gave the Kings fits all night, scoring a game-high 23 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
Rookie sensation Ricky Rubio didn’t disappoint either, dishing out 14 assists and registering five steals for the Timberwolves, who are now 13-12.
Notes and Analysis
- Jimmer was the story tonight. After sitting out two of the last three games with DNP-CDs, Fredette nearly led his team back for the road win.
- Pekovic was dominant tonight. The second-year center scored 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting, using his size and strength to bully his way through the post. Pekovic constantly beat Cousins down the floor and established position near the basket early.
- Michael Beasley scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but the former number two pick was less than impressive with his shot selection. Beasley shot 7-for-21 from the field, turned the ball over three times and finished without an assist in 31 minutes of action.
- DeMarcus Cousins registered another double-double tonight, but was owned in the post by Pekovic. He finished with 10 points, but shot just 3-for-13 from the floor. Cousins consistently forced the action on the offensive end and like Beasley, finished without a single assist.
- Veteran Chuck Hayes had one of his worst games as a King. He had no answer for the taller Pekovic, went scoreless in 20 minutes and turned the ball over at least three times (more by my count). Hayes is still working himself back into shape after missing significant time with a dislocated left shoulder, but he was not effective tonight for coach Keith Smart.
- Rookie Derrick Williams scored 14 points, including a huge three-point shot that gave his team the lead in the game’s waning moments. Williams also did a nice job defensively on Kings power forward Jason Thompson, who has played extremely well lately.
- J.J. Hickson played an efficient 26 minutes. He scored eight points on 4-for-6 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. The fourth-year forward has become the forgotten man on the Kings bench. But if he can have more games like this, he is definitely going to earn a few more minutes.
- Greene scored 11 points tonight for the Kings after sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch. Although he missed a buzzer beater that would have given his team the win, Greene played incredible defense against Beasley.
- Stat of the Night: Jimmer single handedly made this a game with his amazing 13-point outburst in the fourth quarter. What’s worse is that he could have scored more if his teammates would have looked for him, instead of taking more difficult, low-percentage shots. It was, however, Jimmer-time tonight in Minnesota.
James Ham is co-editor of Cowbell Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.