Timberwolves have seven double-digit points to top Kings in playoff atmosphere
SACRAMENTO — One of the Timberwolves’ defining wins of the season came earlier in March when they arrived in Sacramento at the end of a straight streak and picked up a win over the fast-paced Kings.
Wolves returned to Sacramento under similar circumstances after beating Golden State on Sunday in their final West Coast trip of the season.
Wolves repeated their recent history with another important victory, this time 119-115 at the Golden1 Center with Karl-Anthony Towns out due to a day off as he returned from his injured right calf.
Wolves controlled a tight game in the fourth quarter with a few timely saves and big buckets up and down the roster which characterized their effort for the night. Both Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid had thunderous dunks and Wolves made it difficult for the league’s best offense to score in the half court.
Wolves had seven players in double figures, with McDaniels scoring 20 to lead the way. Reid was huge off the bench again with 18. Kyle Anderson had 15 points and 11 assists while Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 16 rebounds. They only committed six turnovers overnight. De’Aaron Fox had 27 for the Kings.
A night after McDaniels scored a point, Wolves made a point of involving him early. They ran the first game to get him a layup, and that set the tone for that first quarter, in which he shot 6-on-6.
McDaniels gave Wolves a strong start that calmed down a crowd that was on the verge of exploding from the opening tip. Wolves shot 52% in the first quarter and led until 13 before taking a 34-25 lead in the second.
The Kings cut Wolves’ lead throughout the second quarter and moved closer to 43-39 before coach Chris Finch returned to his starting lineup. Wolves pushed it back to nine before foul issues started to impact the night, and Wolves began to show frustration with the refereeing. Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert hit the bench with three fouls per play.
The free runs on the line also helped the Kings completely erase Wolves’ halftime lead and Sacramento led 58-57. The offense also dried up for Wolves in the second quarter, as they shot just 9 for 23 after their strong first quarter.
The third quarter was about as close and competitive as a single quarter could get. Neither team led by more than three as Wolves got their attack back on track. They shot 61%, which helped them keep pace with the Kings, who had the most effective offense in the league going into the night. Anderson had 10 in the quarter to give Wolves an 86-85 advantage going into the fourth.
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