Kings-Timberwolves Preview

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ offense fell apart late in their

last game.

It was a 48-minute struggle for the Sacramento Kings in their

most recent effort.

The Timberwolves will try to snap a three-game home losing

streak on Monday night when the Kings look to rebound from one of

the franchise’s worst offensive performances.

Leading by 18 late in the third quarter Saturday, Minnesota

(4-8) was outscored 24-2 during a nine-plus minute stretch and lost

93-91 at Atlanta.

“When you are 18 up, you have to control the game,” said rookie

point guard Ricky Rubio, who finished with a season-high 18 points

and 12 assists. “We have to learn about that. We didn’t know how to

offense that zone.”

The Kings (4-9) didn’t have many answers for Dallas’ defense

Saturday and lost for the fourth time in five games, 99-60. It was

the fewest points scored by the team since a 101-59 loss at

Charlotte on Jan. 10, 1991.

Sacramento’s 23 first-half points were a franchise low. The

previous mark was 25 against Boston on Feb. 26, 1957, when the

Kings were based in Rochester, N.Y., and called the Royals.

“When you come into the league, what you want to do is make

shots,” said Kings coach Keith Smart, who is 2-4 since replacing

the fired Paul Westphal. “When you’re not making those, you get

down. When you get a collection of players doing that, the team

gets down.”

The Kings are hoping for better results as they complete their

five-game trip.

Sacramento shot 56.0 percent and won 127-95 in its last visit to

the Target Center on March 20. It was the second-most lopsided home

loss in Timberwolves history.

Minnesota forward Kevin Love, who finished with just three

rebounds and no points in that game after suffering an injured left

groin, will try to score 30 or more points in three consecutive

games for the first time in his career.

Love, the NBA leader with 12 double-doubles, averaged just 6.3

points and 7.3 rebounds as the Timberwolves dropped two of three to

the Kings in 2010-11.

Michael Beasley scored a team-best 24.0 points per game in those

contests – including a career-high 42 on Nov. 10, 2010, when

Minnesota snapped a four-game skid in Sacramento – but he is

questionable after missing the last five games with a right foot

sprain.

J.J. Barea could miss his third consecutive game with an ankle

injury. That could mean more playing time for Rubio, who has 30

points and 21 assists in two games after entering the starting

lineup Friday.

Wolves guard Luke Ridnour had a team-high 42 points in two home

losses to Sacramento in 2010-11. He scored 22 on March 20, when he

got into a confrontation with Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins after

the two became tangled on a screen.

Cousins, who was ejected following that play for shoving Ridnour

and Martell Webster, has five double-doubles in six games since

Smart took over.

Kings guard Tyreke Evans averaged 25.0 points in Smart’s first

five games before scoring a season-low three on Saturday.

Evans finished with five points and nine assists in the home

loss to the Timberwolves last season after missing a 117-116

victory in Minneapolis on Oct. 27, 2010, due to suspension. Evans

was sidelined with plantar fasciitis in his left foot on March

20.

The Timberwolves and Kings have alternated wins in their last

seven matchups.