No Cousins? No way. The Sacramento Kings dropped to 2-9 on the season without their All-Star center Wednesday night, falling by a final of 113-104 to the Timberwolves at the Target Center. With the loss, the Kings head back to Sacramento 1-3 on their four-game road trip. They now sit at just 27-44 on the season.
Andrew Wiggins diced up the Kings defense from the opening tip. The sophomore guard came in averaging 27.2 per game against the Kings early in his NBA career. He didn’t quite get there on Wednesday night, but he still managed to hit Sacramento for 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
Wiggins walked away with the NBA’s Rookie of the Year trophy last season, and teammate Karl-Anthony Towns’ name has already been engraved on this year’s award. The star 20-year-old dropped in 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in 29 minutes of action.
Big man Gorgui Dieng hit flat-footed jumpers from all over the court, posting a solid line of 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Zach LaVine looked completely disinterested for the first 30 minutes of the game, but came alive late to score 23 points on 4-of-7 shooting from long range.
With DeMarcus Cousins out with a bruised right knee and Rudy Gay struggling to find a rhythm, Rajon Rondo stepped into a scorers role. The veteran guard finished the night with 25 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, but he turned the ball over six times.
Kosta Koufos couldn’t buy a bucket early, but he recovered to hit 7-for-16 from the field and stuff the stat sheet with 13 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and two blocks.
Marco Belinelli was the first guard off the bench for Sacramento and the early results were less than spectacular. But after missing his first two open looks, Belinelli hit his next four shots and finished the game with 14.
Darren Collison was a non-factor for most of the night, but came alive late to score seven of his 12 points in the fourth, and Omri Casspi added 12 points and four rebounds off the bench.
The Kings struggled to hold onto the ball yet again, turning the ball over 11 times in the first half and another six after the intermission. They also struggled from the line, hitting just 12-for-23 from the charity stripe.
Wiggins and Towns put on a show, winning co-player of the game awards. The future is really bright in Minnesota with these two franchise cornerstones. It pays to land the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA in back-to-back years.
It was a tight game going to the half, but midway through the third quarter the Kings decided to play hot potato with the ball and the Timberwolves put on a slam dunk contest in transition. The Kings made a run in the fourth quarter, but once again failed to execute in crunch time.
DeMarcus Cousins missed the game with a bruised right knee. Ben McLemore sat for the eighth straight game with a non-displaced fracture of the right ring finger.
The Kings return home to face the Phoenix Suns on Friday night looking to snap a seven-game losing streak at Sleep Train Arena.