Wolves fall to Kings despite LaVine's career high and Towns' 10th-straight double-double

December 24, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- In their first year under coach Dave Joerger, the Sacramento Kings are beginning to discover how they want to play, and the fourth quarter is quickly becoming theirs.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 32 points, including 21 in the second half, and Sacramento came back to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-105 on Friday night for its third straight victory.

Cousins hit three 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and seven assists for Sacramento, which has won four of its past five games. The Kings have come from behind in each game during their win streak and have outscored opponents 96-62 in the fourth.

"I think we're starting to realize what it takes to win games," Cousins said. "We're doing a great job of playing together, moving the ball, getting everybody involved. Guys are having fun right now. Everything's just clicking."

Anthony Tolliver came off the bench to go 5 of 7 on 3s and score 17 points as the Kings hit a season-high 15 3-pointers in 29 attempts.

Zach LaVine scored a career-high 40 points and tied a career best with seven 3s for Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns tallied his 10th straight double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had won three of their previous four games.

"We didn't play any defense from start to finish," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "When we needed to play our best, we played our worst. So, disappointing."

Ricky Rubio had a season-high 13 points, all in the third, as the Timberwolves opened a nine-point lead. But just like in that last game in Utah, Cousins and the Kings took control in the fourth.

Cousins had 12 points and Lawson had nine of his 15 in the period. Sacramento also held Minnesota to 6-of-21 shooting in the fourth.

"We didn't have a lot of pop and came out to start the fourth quarter, made a run right away and picked up our level of intensity," Joerger said. "And then we made some great plays at the end."

The Timberwolves felt they were making similar progress in their first year with Thibodeau as coach after pulling out close wins against Chicago, Phoenix and Atlanta, and going to overtime against Houston.

"Every time you lose it's discouraging because, for us, we've been in a chance to win almost every game," LaVine said. "It's annoying, but you just have to have thick skin and move on to the next one."


Kings: Rudy Gay missed his sixth straight game with a right hip flexor strain. Omar Casspi was available after missing four games due to an illness but didn't play. . . . Starting in place of Gay, Matt Barnes scored 10 points, his first double-digit effort since Dec. 2. . . . The Kings are undefeated when shooting at least 50 percent.

Timberwolves: LaVine scored 19 points in the second quarter, his second-highest quarter of his career, trailing 20 in the fourth against Golden State on April 11, 2015. . . . Gorgui Dieng had two blocks. It was his sixth straight game with multiple blocks, the longest active streak in the NBA. . . . Minnesota hit 12 of 32 from 3, its ninth game this season with at least 10 3-pointers. It's the team's highest total since a club-record 18 occurrences in 2013-14.


A big reason for Sacramento's streak has been the play of the team's bench. After outscoring Utah's reserves 49-21, the Kings' bench outscored Minnesota's reserves 45-11.

"Our bench has been incredible," Cousins said. "Our bench has won us some games this year. There have been some games where the first group has just been completely off. So, our bench has been incredible this year. They're stepping up, they're ready to play."


LaVine's continues his progression in his third season, particularly from the outside. LaVine has shot 24 of 48 from 3-point range over the last six games. He's made at least four 3s the past three games. He's connected on at least five in a game six times this season.


Kings: Return home on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Timberwolves: Head to Oklahoma City to play on Christmas Day for the first time in team history.



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