February 11, 2018, 9:35 pm
The Kings headed to Minnesota Sunday night looking to start their three game roadtrip with a big win, but the team was unable to pull off the upset.
The first quarter started off well for Sacramento thanks in large part to a hot start from De’Aaron Fox. Fox contributed seven of the team’s first nine points, finishing the quarter with 14 points on just five shots.
The Wolves struggled to get into a rhythm offensively, but Karl-Anthony Towns steadied the team when he was on the floor. The Wolves repeatedly went to Towns in the post when they needed a basket, and the Kings struggled to do much to stop it.
The Kings continued to play aggressively to start the second quarter and it paid off. The Kings continued to get good looks in transition, and the pressure that they applied on defense helped force plenty of turnovers. One of the biggest reasons for Sacramento’s success early in the second quarter was the play of Buddy Hield, who ended the quarter with 11 points and two steals.
Sacramento was well on their way towards a big halftime lead, but turnover issues and poor shot selection allowed the Wolves to make a run and eventually take the lead.
The Kings came back from halftime with the same intensity that they brought in the first half, but they were able avoid some of their mistakes that let the Wolves back into the game. Sacramento outscored Minnesota 26-19 in the third and built a five-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Defense was mostly a positive for Sacramento early in the fourth quarter, but they struggled to keep the Wolves from getting to the free throw line. Minnesota finished with 15 more free throws than the Kings.
Sacramento stuck with Minnesota until the very end, but the Wolves just couldn’t be stopped late. A big three from Buddy Hield with ten seconds left brought the Kings to within two points, but a steal by Jimmy Butler sealed the 111-106 victory for Minnesota.
Sacramento will now head to Dallas where they should have a good opportunity to even up their record on the roadtrip against the Mavericks.
- Bruno Caboclo did not make his debut for the Kings against the Wolves, and it was mentioned during the broadcast that the team does not plan to play any of their new players until after the All-Star break. Iman Shumpert is currently dealing with a foot injury as well, so he may be out for an extended period.
- De’Aaron Fox was active on both ends of the floor tonight, leading the Kings in scoring with 23 points while also getting three steals. Fox did a great job of using his speed to blow past his defender, but his ability to hit jumpers off the dribble made him particularly effective.
- Sacramento was clearly looking to push the pace against the Wolves, and while that did lead to some great plays in transition it also led to quite a few turnovers. The team will get better as they get more comfortable running the floor, but it will be tough to win with 18 turnovers and just 17 assists.
- JaKarr Sampson saw some time on the court in Minnesota, and while there were a few mistakes he was able to make a big difference with his effort and energy. Sampson is much more comfortable playing as a power forward, but he had been seeing quite a bit of time on the perimeter in recent weeks. Sampson should have a good chance to see some extra time on the floor with the team looking to play it’s younger players, and he could make a nice impact as a high energy stretch four.