Love, Dieng double-double and Timberwolves beat Kings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 104-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings Sunday night.
Love hit 3 of 6 3-pointers, including one with 1:07 to play to give Minnesota a 97-95 lead and the Timberwolves hung on.
Kevin Martin added 31 points and rookie Gorgui Dieng had his first career double-double with season highs in points (12) and rebounds (11) for Minnesota. He also had five blocks.
The Timberwolves won for the 33rd time, their most wins since 2005-06.
Derrick Williams scored 26 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Sacramento, which has officially been eliminated from postseason contention. Isaiah Thomas had 27 points, including two 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds to keep it close.
Thomas scored from beyond the arc with 13.2 seconds left to get the Kings within two. After Martin made two free throws to make it 102-98 with 12.1 seconds left, Thomas answered with another 3-pointer before Martin made two more free throws with 5.7 seconds left.
Dieng, the 21st pick in last summer’s draft, made his first career start in place of Nikola Pekovic, who sat out with soreness in his right ankle.
Sacramento also played without its starting center — and leading scorer– as DeMarcus Cousins missed the game with right knee tendinitis. He was replaced by Aaron Gray, who hadn’t seen action since Feb. 25. Gray finished with four points in 20 minutes.
After a pair of disappointing seasons in Minnesota, Williams, the second-overall pick in the 2011 Draft, was traded to Sacramento on Nov. 26 for Luc Mbah a Moute, who has been a non-factor for the Timberwolves.
Down 29-19 late in the first quarter, Williams provided a spark by scoring 10 straight points off the bench to get the Kings within three by quarter’s end.
Williams had six more in the second quarter as the Kings took a 54-53 halftime lead.
Notes: Listed as day to day, Pekovic missed 13 games earlier this season — including all of February — with bursitis in his right ankle. . . . Minnesota entered the game averaging a league-low 3.5 blocks per game. . . . Thomas reached 1,000 career assists with a first-quarter helper, becoming the eighth player in Sacramento history to have that many in his first three seasons with the Kings. . . . Martin made his 1,000th career 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. . . . Twelve of Sacramento’s final 15 games are in the Pacific time zone.