The Minnesota Timberwolves own the second-worst record in the NBA this season but are perfect when they face the Sacramento Kings.
Minnesota aims to complete a sweep of the three-game season series and take both ends of a back-to-back with the Kings when the teams play in Sacramento on Wednesday night.
The Timberwolves (16-43) recorded a double-digit win over the Kings for the second time this month with a 134-120 victory Tuesday.
Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points apiece and Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 points and a season-best 18 rebounds. Russell had 25 points on April 5 when Minnesota won at home against Sacramento, 116-106.
The Kings have lost 10 of their past 11 games entering the rematch.
On Tuesday, neither team played much defense over the first three quarters as the Kings led 103-99.
Then Minnesota outscored Sacramento 35-17 over the final 12 minutes. While the Timberwolves made 13-of-21 field-goal attempts in the final quarter, they also held the Kings to 7-of-22 from the field.
“I think we did a great job,” Towns said. “We locked up better in the fourth and made it real difficult on them to get good shots. We did a great job. It was a great win, but we can’t be satisfied. We have to go take that win (on Wednesday).”
Sacramento coach Luke Walton said his squad let up on defense in the final stanza.
“It has hurt us all year. You can’t just try to outscore people,” Walton said. “It was more of a shootout. Give Minnesota credit — they won the shootout because they kept making shots and we didn’t.”
For the Kings, Maurice Harkless and Harrison Barnes scored 20 points apiece.
De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points on just 5-of-17 shooting from the field in 28 minutes. Walton said afterward that Fox’s minutes were limited due to an ankle injury suffered in Sunday’s 121-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Barnes termed Tuesday’s defensive issues as something that repeatedly happens to a team saddled with a 23-35 record.
“We had no problems scoring the basketball, but defensively we weren’t consistent,” Barnes said. “Down the stretch, we had too many miscues and let their guys have open shots.
“The message stays the same — when we play consistent basketball, we have a chance to win. And when we don’t, it’s going to look like tonight.”
Towns (10 points) and Edwards (eight) outscored the Kings by themselves in the fourth period.
Towns said the entire day Tuesday was emotional for him. He spent the afternoon waiting for the verdict in which former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts of killing George Floyd in Minneapolis last May.
Minnesota coach Chris Finch said during his postgame locker-room address to the team that the game ball was going to be given to the Floyd family.
“Very, very proud of you guys,” Finch said to the squad. “It was obviously a big day for our city and a big day for our country. The only way we could show honor for that was to go and play with that type of effort and get a win.”
–Field Level Media
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