Road Reaction: Timberwolves 99, Kings 86

Recap

Box Score

The Sacramento Kings ran out of gas tonight in Minneapolis, falling 99-86 to the  Minnesota Timberwolves.

Kevin Love dominated the the paint, scoring 33 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but Luke Ridnour was the real difference in the game.  The Kings left Ridnour open time after time and he torched them for 25 points, 12 of which came off four made three-pointers.  The veteran guard also added nine assists in the victory.

Tyreke Evans picked up double-digit assists for the first time this season, but struggled from the field, hitting just three of his 11 shot attempts and scoring just nine points.

The Kings return home to face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night after going 1-4 on their five-game road trip.  Following the loss, Keith Smart said during the telecast that changes to the lineup would be made.

“Oh yeah, I’m at that point now,” said the Kings head coach.  “Because I can’t keep waiting for guys to play great or to play good, because the season’s too short.  I have to do something because right now, this is not working for our basketball team.”

Notes and Analysis

  • J.J. Hickson continued to struggle as a starter, scoring just nine points and grabbing four rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
  • Jason Thompson continued his solid play off the bench.  The fourth-year big man out of Rider scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in 26 minutes.
  • While Thompson has played well, he went 0-for-3 from the line tonight, dropping his season free-throw percentage to just 37 percent.  Coming into the season, JT was a career 68-percent shooter from the line.
  • John Salmons started off the game well, but finished 4-for-11 from the field and missed all three of his three-point attempts.
  • Francisco Garcia scored 12 points off the bench in 23 minutes of action.  The veteran was out of the rotation under former coach Paul Westphal, but has found new life under Smart.
  • Both Isaiah Thomas and Travis Outlaw received DNP-CDs.  For Outlaw, this has become a trend and it appears he has lost his rotation spot to Donté Greene, at least in the short term.
  • Ricky Rubio scored nine points, dished eight assists and grabbed eight rebounds.  While he shot only 3-for-10 from the field, he hit a huge three-pointer in the fourth to put the game away.
  • Minnesota shot 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from three-point land while Sacramento hit just 4-for-17 (23.5 percent).
  • Stat of Night: The Kings finished the night with 20 assists for the first time this season.  Their previous high was 17.

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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 is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".