Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game Preview
Andrew Wiggins has been climbing up the Minnesota Timberwolves scoring list rather rapidly. Wiggins has scored at least 20 points for the 17th consecutive game in the Timberwolves’ 142-130 loss in Houston on Saturday, breaking the previous mark set by Minnesota legend Kevin Garnett.
Joining Wiggins is his second year teammate Karl-Anthony Towns. Early on in Towns’ career, he has shown that he is the real deal by emerging as one of the best big men in the NBA. Towns statistically had the best game of his career Saturday night against the Rockets as he went for a career-high 37 points, while grabbing 22 rebounds.
Wiggins is averaging 27.8 points during his 17-game streak while Towns is averaging 29.1 points over his last nine. Towns has a 20-point streak of his own as he has reached that feat in 14 straight games.
The Timberwolves are without guard Zach Lavine as he is out for the season with a torn left ACL. In Lavine’s absence, Wiggins and Towns are averaging 59 points in those nine games.
Unlike the Timberwolves, with DeMarcus Cousins gone there is no 20-point scorer currently on the Sacramento Kings roster.
In the Kings win against the Denver Nuggets a few nights ago, six players were in double figures. Buddy Hield scored 16 points in his debut and Tyreke Evans scored 15 points.
With Cousins gone, the Kings frontcourt scoring is left in the hands of rookie Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein. In the first game without Cousins, Labissiere scored an energetic 12 points playing 14 minutes. Cauley-Stein scored a career-high 29 points against the Nuggets.
For the Kings to have a chance in the frontcourt, Cauley-Stein, Labissiere and Kosta Koufos will have to keep a tight leash on Towns as he is red-hot.
The Kings are looking to bounce back from a dismal 37 percent shooting against the Charlotte Hornets Saturday night. Five Kings players scored in double figures in the game with Ben McLemore being the high point man with 18 on the night.
On Dec. 23 the Kings’ beat the Timberwolves in Minnesota 109-105 and 57 of the Kings’ points came from Cousins and Rudy Gay. With half of the scoring gone for this matchup, look for the Kings to rely on five or more players scoring in double figures.
Don Weir’s Reno Dodge Keys to the Game
1: Limit post scoring, in particular Towns
-The frontcourt brigade has to hold Towns under 20 points
2: Win the hustle battle
-With young legs and a fresh aura, push the ball in transition and get easy buckets in the open court.
3: Win the Wing battle/ Andrew Wiggins
-McLemore, Hield and Evans are going to have a tough task to handle on Monday night containing one of the hottest shooting guards in the league. Limit his slashing and driving. Force him to shoot the three and midrange.
Tip off is set for 7:30 PM PST at the Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento, Calif.