SACRAMENTO -- One more game. After Thursday night’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, that is all that is left to be play in storied Arco/Sleep Train Arena before it’s shut down for good this summer and replaced with the Golden 1 Center.
Kings fans showed up in force, filling up the 28-year-old building to watch a spirited, but short-handed Sacramento team fall for the 48th time this season, this time by a final of 105-97. With the win, the Timberwolves swept the season-series against Kings 4-0.
Minnesota has plenty of star level players developing, but that’s not who made the difference against the Kings. Third-year big man Gorgui Deng quietly scored 18 and grabbed 13 rebounds and Serbian sharpshooter Nemanja Bjelica hit for 18 on 6-for-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc off the T-Wolves bench.
The last time these two teams played, Zach LaVine looked like he was sleeping through the first half before dropping all 23 of his points after the intermission. He didn’t need to wait 24 minutes before torching the Kings Thursday at Sleep Train Arena.
LaVine scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting before the two teams could get back into the locker room. He scored just three points in the second half to finish with 18.
Karl-Anthony Towns is a runaway winner for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award and he didn’t disappoint. The 20-year-old big struggled from the field, but hit enough to scored 15 points. He added eight rebounds and played solid defense against his former Kentucky teammate Willie Cauley-Stein.
Andrew Wiggins chipped in 15 points and four rebounds and Shabazz Muhammad added 10 in the win.
Darren Collison has no interest in resting down the stretch. He plays every game like it was his last and Thursday night was no different. Starting for the resting Rajon Rondo, Collison attacked the T-Wolves, finishing the game with a team-high 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Quincy Acy provided the punch off the Kings bench, hitting 7-of-12 shots for 17 points. He added six rebounds and a blocked shot in 28 minutes.
Cauley-Stein struggled with foul trouble early, but still managed to play 33 minutes as the Kings' starting four. He held his own against Towns, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds.
Rudy Gay got off to a slow start, but he kept with it and ended up having a solid 13-point, 13-rebound game.
STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Bjelica can flat out shoot and the Kings left him wide open on the perimeter to let it fly. The Timberwolves have plenty of weapons, but you can’t sag off of players known for one thing.
TURNING POINT -- With .02 remaining in the third quarter, Bjelica hit a huge 3-pointer to give Minny a seven point lead going to the fourth. The Kings never recovered and the Timberwolves came away with their 26th win of the season.
INJURY UPDATE -- Omri Casspi missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring and he is doubtful to play Saturday night as well. Marco Belinelli sat for the seventh straight game with a sore right foot. DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo took the night off to rest.
WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings play the final game in the history of Sleep Train Arena Saturday night when they host Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.