SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings close in on NBA In-Season clinch with win over T-Wolves

Nov 24, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 9:55 pm

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 24: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball agains...

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been an early-season juggernaut–especially on their home floor, where they held a perfect 7-0 record entering play on Friday.

Then, the Sacramento Kings came to town.

De’Aaron Fox posted another monstrous stat line, the Kings’ offense was dialed in from three-point land, and Sacramento handed the T-Wolves their first home loss of the season during a 124-111 win that capped off a two-week, six-game road trip.

The Kings (9-4) ended their trip with a 4-2 record while improving to 3-0 in the NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play standings.

By defeating the Timberwolves, Sacramento is set for a crucial matchup against the Golden State Warriors that is set to take place at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday night. For Sacramento, it’s simple: win, and you’re in.

In the meantime, there was a lot to like about Sacramento’s win over a Minnesota team that entered the night with a 10-3 record (first in the Western Conference standings).

On a night that saw the Kings without Keegan Murray (low back soreness), they would have to find a way to get hot from beyond the arc while holding T-Wolves star Anthony Edwards in check.

Although Edwards scored 35 points on Friday night, he struggled to convert from the field (eight-for-21), and most of his damager came from the free-throw line (17-of-18).

While the offense was there for Sacramento (49 percent from the field and 48 percent from deep), the defense played a crucial role in the winning effort.

Minnesota was forced into 18 turnovers and struggled to find offense during the third quarter (five-of-20 from the field) as Fox and the Kings refused to take their feet off the gas.

Here are more thoughts from another impressive win from a Sacramento Kings team that has won seven of its past nine games.

Kings vs. T-Wolves Takeaways

Fox Keeps Rolling

De’Aaron Fox wore a few different hats on Friday night as the All-Star guard posted his first double-double of the season.

‘Swipa’ finished the night with 36 points on 14-of-32 shooting from the field (three-of-seven from deep) to go along with seven rebounds and 12 assists over 37 minutes.

In Clutch Player of the Year fashion, Fox did most of his damage during the second half, scoring 26 of his 36 points during the final two quarters.

The All-NBA guard created damage in various ways, including from beyond the arc and attacking the paint. Fox was on the receiving end of a ton of contact while officials largely looked on without a whistle, and it looked like a switch flipped once he was assessed a technical foul near the end of the first half.

Fox went toe-to-toe with Edwards, and the two rising stars provided fans with a battle we’ll be able to witness for years to come.

This time, though, Fox emerged with a win by taking over in the second half.

Letting It Fly

Sacramento couldn’t buy a triple during the last meeting between the Kings and T-Wolves on March 27th.

The Kings finished a 119-115 loss just five-of-27 (18%) from beyond the three-point line, with three of those makes coming off the hands of Kevin Huerter.

Friday’s matchup was a different story.

Sacramento’s offense was lethal from the opening tip, as the Kings looked utterly unbothered by a Minnesota team that entered play in possession of the NBA’s best defensive rating and second-best three-point defense.

The Kings, who made five triples during 48 minutes of action during their last meeting against the Timberwolves, made five attempts from deep during the first five minutes of Friday’s game at Target Center.

Sacramento used a red-hot start from three-point land to jump out to a 22-point lead in the first half, with Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Kevin Huerter, and Harrison Barnes all drilling two or more attempts from deep during the first half.

Thanks to a 14-of-22 (63%) start from beyond the arc during the first half, the Kings led by as many as 22 points en route to taking a 70-64 lead into the break.

While the three-pointers weren’t falling at an incredible rate during the second half, Sacramento changed its plan of attack and did its damage in the paint down the stretch while Minnesota’s defense struggled to slow players like Fox and Harrison Barnes.

The hot start from beyond the arc set the tone, and a 17-of-35 (48%) finish from deep was integral in picking up the win.

A Big Night For The Second Unit

It’s been a tough road trip for Malik Monk.

Entering play on Friday night, the guard held averages of 10.6 points on 36 percent shooting from the field, meaning that Monk was searching for a strong finish to Sacramento’s two-week, six-game trip.

Monk got off to a very quick start in this one, scoring 17 points on six-of-nine shooting from the field (three-of-four from deep) during just 12 minutes of playing time during the first half.

With Anthony Edwards scoring at will for the T-Wolves (21 first-half points), Monk was the Kings’ primary scorer during the first half while De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis set the table as distributors.

Joining Monk in the attack from the perimeter was Trey Lyles, who looked sharp once again in his second game back from a left calf strain.

Lyles provided Sacramento with a threat from the outside (three-of-six) en route to scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds over 18 minutes.

Also joining Monk and Lyles with solid contributions out of the second unit was Kessler Edwards, who came up with some big defensive possessions and a crucial offensive rebound that resulted in a basket during the final stretch.

Edwards logged a season-high 18 minutes while adding 10 points (four-of-seven shooting) and swiping a steal while playing strong defense on Anthony Edwards during the second half.

Note

  • Harrison Barnes (18 PTS, 7/11 FG) has looked like a different player over the past three games. Following his 32-point effort in Sacramento’s season-opener against Utah, Barnes went 11 games without scoring more than 14 points. Friday’s game marked HB’s third straight game with 16+ points.
  • The Kings picked up a win despite Minnesota going 27/29 from the free-throw line. Sacramento took just 11 attempts from the line (made nine).
  • Domantas Sabonis battled Rudy Gobert in the post and came away with his 13th double-double of the season (15 PTS, 11 REB , 5 AST)

Updated NBA In-Season Tournament Standings

 

Injury Report

Keegan Murray has missed the past two games due to back soreness. ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that Murray’s injury is not expected to sideline him for an extended period.

Keon Ellis (left ankle sprain) was ruled out after taking a bad step on Sunday night in Dallas. The two-way guard is considered day-to-day.

Alex Len (right ankle sprain) will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. Expect JaVale McGee and Lyles, once he returns, to slide in and take over the backup center duties.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

Did someone ask for more Kings vs. Warriors?

Sacramento will wrap up its Group Play portion of their NBA In Season Tournament schedule on Tuesday night when Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors travel to Golden 1 Center for a matchup that will air nationally on TNT.

After playing six-straight games on the road, the Kings will open up a four-game home stand–although the home stand could be interrupted by a brief trip to Las Vegas if Sacramento can defeat the Warriors and claim a spot in the Knockout Round.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Warriors coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, November 28th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors** – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • December 3rd-10th: NBA In-Season Tournament Week (Schedule TBD)
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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