Timberwolves-Kings Preview

Two of the NBA’s best rebounders, Kevin Love and DeMarcus

Cousins, are set to renew acquaintances again.

Cousins, however, hasn’t been much of a factor against Love’s

Minnesota Timberwolves this season.

The home team has won every matchup between Cousin’s Sacramento

Kings and the Timberwolves heading into Monday night’s meeting of

last-place teams at Power Balance Pavilion.

Love is averaging 13.7 rebounds to rank second in the NBA, while

Cousins is fourth at 11.1 boards per game.

Minnesota’s star has played in two of the three meetings between

the clubs this season, averaging 27.0 points and 11.0 rebounds.

Love continues to lead the NBA with 45 double-doubles.

Cousins has appeared in all three matchups, totaling 29 points

and 16 rebounds while shooting 10 of 29 shooting. He’s been plagued

by foul trouble every time, failing to log 25 minutes in any of the

three contests and totaling 13 fouls.

Minnesota (25-29) dropped into last place in the Northwest

Division after falling 119-106 at Portland on Sunday. Love’s string

of double-doubles ended at 10 games after he had 26 points and nine

rebounds for the Timberwolves, who trail Houston by 3 1/2 games for

the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

“We’ve got to win almost every game now,” Love said. “So it’s

still there for us, but we need a tremendous amount of luck on our

side as well.”

Minnesota hasn’t had much luck in the injury department. The

Wolves are without J.J. Barea (bruised right quadriceps), Michael

Beasley (sprained toe), Darko Milicic (strained right hamstring)

and Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs in right ankle), and rookie guard

Ricky Rubio is out for the season with a knee injury.

“Losing Ricky was obviously the toughest thing for us. We were

able to grind out games and get wins, but then Pek went down, J.J.

continued to be hurt and Michael just added firepower,” Love

said.

Cousins failed in his bid to post six straight double-doubles

for the first time in his career as the Kings fell 111-99 at home

to New Jersey on Saturday. He had 14 points and nine rebounds after

averaging 28.0 and 15.0 over his previous five contests.

Sacramento (18-34), the last-place team in the Pacific Division,

averaged 18.0 turnovers in two losses at Minnesota this season

before taking better care of the ball with 11 giveaways in a 115-99

home win over the Timberwolves on March 18. Marcus Thornton is

averaging 19.3 points in the season series to lead the Kings.

The Kings welcomed a day off Sunday after they felt fatigued

during the second half of a back-to-back set of games, a 111-99

home loss Saturday to New Jersey.

“We didn’t have the energy we needed,” coach Keith Smart

said.