Preview: Wolves at Kings
The Timberwolves will seek a second consecutive win in Sacramento and a fourth straight overall against the Kings when they attempt to avoid a winless five-game road trip that began with losses at Golden State, Portland and two in Los Angeles (to both the Clippers and Lakers).
The good news for the Timberwolves is that Derrick Rose, who sat out the entire Portland game and all but five minutes of the Golden State loss because of an ankle injury, appears to have made a healthy recovery.
He was able to play 35 minutes against the Clippers on Monday and 37 against the Lakers on Wednesday, pouring in 21 and 31 points, respectively, in those contests.
The temptation to play through the pain after having exploded for a career-best 50 points in Minnesota’s last home game before the trip gave way to the reality of having a 30-year-old body, Rose said.
“Knowing where I came from, my injury background, there’s no point in risking anything if I feel a certain way,” he explained this week. “It’s about being smart, knowing what type of player I am. And a lot of people look at it like, ‘Your 60 percent is a lot better than a lot of people’s 90 or 100 percent.’ But it’s my body, I have to pay attention to my body and just be smart with the whole situation.”
Rose’s presence in Sacramento is all the more important given that Minnesota’s regular starting point guard, Jeff Teague, is likely to miss his sixth straight game with a bruised knee. Rose has started three of those games, averaging 33.7 points.
Teague had 20 points and seven assists in his matchup with Kings star point guard De’Aaron Fox in the Timberwolves’ 118-100 win at Sacramento last February. Minnesota swept the three-game season series, also winning twice at home.
Fox had only 13 points in that home loss to the Timberwolves, but has blossomed into much more of a scorer this season, going for 20 or more points in six of the Kings’ 11 games.
Sacramento is 4-2 this season when he’s scored at least 20.
The Kings have lost two straight, including 114-105 to Toronto on Wednesday in the opener of a four-game homestand.
The biggest positive of the defeat: High-scoring forward Bogdan Bogdanovic made his season debut following offseason knee surgery, getting in 18 minutes and going for seven points.
The cheer when the club’s fourth-leading scorer last year entered the game was about as loud as Kings fans got all night.
“I felt good and also I would like to thank the fans for (the) standing ovation at the beginning,” Bogdanovic said. “I found some energy from them.
“I was a little bit tired, but just my lungs. Legs are good and knee is good, so that’s what I’m worried about.”
The Kings, who had 20 fewer wins than the Timberwolves last season, enter the game with the better record of the two at 6-5. Minnesota has slipped to 4-8.