Sacramento Kings bounce back with win over Minnesota Timberwolves

By Tyler Mason, The Sports Xchange  |  April 2, 2017 at 12:55 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Since joining the Sacramento Kings in a trade from New Orleans, rookie Buddy Hield has seen a spike in his offensive numbers.

Saturday was another step in the right direction for the first-year guard.

Hield scored a career-high 22 points while Ty Lawson added 21 points off the bench to lead Sacramento to a 123-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The big night by Hield helped the Kings put an ugly road loss behind them as they picked up a road victory just one night later.

"That's what you want as a rookie. You want to play and show everybody what you're capable of doing," Hield said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity and keep working at it."

Five Kings players scored in double figures as they won for just the third time in nine games. Hield improved his scoring average to 14.4 points per game in 20 games with the Kings.

Saturday's win for Sacramento came on the heels of a 117-89 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans 24 hours earlier. The Kings shot a season-high 56.4 percent from the field against Minnesota.

Andrew Wiggins had 32 points for Minnesota, which had its modest two-game winning streak stopped. Karl-Anthony Towns chipped in 26 points and 11 rebounds. The Timberwolves fell to 30-45 on the season.

Minnesota led by as many as 16 points in the first half before seeing that lead shrink to just 59-55 at halftime. Sacramento took the lead early in the third quarter and eventually led by as many as nine in the third.

That lead grew in the fourth quarter as the Kings used a 9-0 run to gain a 15-point advantage -- a 31-point swing from the 16-point lead Minnesota held in the first quarter.

"I thought our starters got us off to a good start and our bench came in and we had reckless fouls," said Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau. "We've got to straighten that out."

The Timberwolves didn't go away quietly, though. Wiggins hit an open 3-pointer and Shabazz Muhammad converted a tough layup to cap a 10-0 Minnesota run that made it 106-101 with under six minutes to play.

Sacramento responded, using an 8-2 run to retake a double-digit lead. Minnesota never threatened from that point.

"Once they gained confidence it was hard to shut anybody down," Wiggins said. "They started hitting tough shots, open shots."

After forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter alone, the Timberwolves forced just eight more the rest of the game as its defense fell apart.

"We can't ever be outworked, and I felt like we were outworked in the second half," Towns said. "We put them in a big deficit. We should have put them away then."

The Kings' bench outscored Minnesota's reserves by a lopsided 66-26 margin. Three players scored in double figures off Sacramento's bench.

"We had a tough night last night, tough night shooting the ball," said Langston Galloway, who had 17 points off the bench for the Kings. "I think that as a veteran, we're just trying to figure out any way possible to help. Once we started knocking down a couple shots, we just got going."

Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who scored a career-high 33 points in Thursday's win over the Lakers, struggled from the floor Saturday. He finished just 1 of 10 from the floor and was 0 of 3 from 3-point range.

Sacramento used a smaller lineup to get to the paint often against Minnesota. The Kings had little trouble attacking the rim for 48 points in the paint.

"Yesterday we struggled to score easy points," Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said. "Today we were scoring the hard points today. It just worked out."

NOTES: Timberwolves G Zach LaVine, out for the season with a torn ACL, received the Flip Saunders Legacy Award at halftime of Saturday's game. The award, named for the late Minnesota coach, annually honors a Timberwolves player who has made an impact on the community. ... Sacramento F Tyreke Evans, C Kosta Koufos and G Garrett Temple did not play Saturday due to planned rest. Temple and Evans both played in Friday's 117-89 loss to New Orleans. ... F/C Karl-Anthony Towns notched his 56th double-double of the season with a 26-point, 11-rebound effort. He trails only Houston's James Harden (60) and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (57) for the most double-doubles in the NBA this season.

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