By James Ham and Rui Thomas
No Boogie, no sweat. The Sacramento Kings (27-50) took care of business against the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves (16-61) and made history in the process, winning by the final score of 116-111.
“I’m kind of a little disappointed,” George Karl told the media after the game. “I think it could have been an easier win than we made it. Giving up 37 points in the fourth quarter is ridiculous and irresponsible, but we’ll let it go, and get the win.”
The Timberwolves only had nine available players, but the Kings showed no mercy. Sacramento overcame nine turnovers in the first quarter to finish with 14 total and 13 points allowed. The Kings shot 52.5 percent from the floor and 9-of-24 from the behind the arc, while the Wolves made 48.4 percent of their field goal attempts.
With DeMarcus Cousins out (sore right foot), Sacramento beat up Minnesota inside. They led in rebounds 49-36, points in the paint 56-50, and second chance points 23-15.
“I enjoyed the offense a lot tonight after the first quarter,” Karl noted. “I thought we had good ball movement. Omri got hot in the third quarter and hit some big 3’s for us.”
Sim Bhullar logged 16 seconds to become the first Indian player in the NBA, but Omri Casspi stole the show with a career-high 31 points. Rudy Gay produced 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Ray McCallum recorded 13 points and a career-high nine boards. Derrick Williams notched 18 points and eight rebounds, including a flurry of hard dunks.
Ex-King Kevin Martin scored 37 points for the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins had 26 points and eight rebounds, and Zach LaVine added 21 points, 11 assists and five rebounds.
The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak and improve to 9-16 under George Karl. Sacramento travels to face the Utah Jazz (35-42) tomorrow with a chance to avenge a loss from Sunday.
Notes and Analysis
- Welcome back to the lineup Rudy Gay. After missing three straight with a concussion, Gay jumped right back into the fray tonight. The veteran wing struggled with his shot early, but still managed to score 33 points, grab seven rebounds and hand out five assists in the win.
- Omri Casspi continues to shine in the starting lineup. The free agent-to-be was a difference maker, scoring a new career-high in points with 31 on 12-of-20 shooting. Casspi added five rebounds. The Kings play well with Gay and Casspi as the starting forwards.
- Derrick Williams has taken some abuse over the last 48 hours for his lack of rebounding prowess. Tonight against the T-Wolves, he dropped in 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench. Williams is kind of like watching a guy in a Ferrari drive 55 on the freeway. We know he can go faster, but will he?
- Ray McCallum started out slow, but he keeps finding a way to stuff the stat sheet. The second-year guard scored 12 points, grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and handed out four assists as the Kings’ starting point guard.
- Jason Thompson provided a spark off the bench. The veteran big man grabbed eight rebounds and added six points. Thompson could have had more if he didn’t go 2-of-6 from the line. Reggie Evans drew the start for the injured DeMarcus Cousins and finished with eight rebounds.
- The Kings began the game by turning the ball over nine times in the first quarter. Andre Miller entered and stemmed the tide. The veteran point guard scored just four points in 21 minutes, but he handed out eight assists and didn’t commit a turnover.
- Stat of the Night: Kevin martin single-handedly kept the Timberwolves in the game with his turn-back-the-clock 37-point, eight-assist night.
Quote of the Game
Sim Bhullar on his NBA regular season debut
“It was a little taste of action, but I’m still trying to look for more. I’m trying to get in the game for a little bit more than a couple seconds. It’s good to get in the game and see the ovation from the fans, so I’m just happy that I actually got a chance to play tonight.”