News » Timberwolves lay an egg, get scrambled by Sacramento

Timberwolves lay an egg, get scrambled by Sacramento

Timberwolves lay an egg, get scrambled by Sacramento SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A night after playing some inspired Basketball in a loss to the defending NBA champions, the Timberwolves laid an egg in a winnable game against another Western Conference also-ran.

Jason Thompson led five Sacramento players in double figures with 23 points as the Kings hammered Minnesota 120-100 in front of a meager crowd Saturday at Arco Arena.

Al Jefferson had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves , who looked worn out from a 104-92 loss to the Lakers on Friday night in Los Angeles. There were the usual brief passages of inspired play, but mostly it was a symphony of bad passes, poor shot selection and weak defense.

The Kings had 34 fast-break points as the Timberwolves lost for the fourth time in a row, and 21st time overall, matching the 3-21 start of the 2007-08 team.

"On the second of a back-to-back on the road, a young team has to understand the proper way to play," first-year Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "Sacramento is "a team that wants to get up and down the floor, (and) they've had a couple of days off. We got caught up trying to play too fast.

"Any time we got organized, we got ourselves quality looks, and that was the way we were supposed to play. So it made it very difficult to calm everybody down and get them to play the right way."

They also lost forward Ryan Gomes, who twisted his left knee and sprained his left ankle while corralling a pass from Ramon Sessions late in the first half, falling awkwardly to save a steal in the Kings' end. The play moved ahead as Gomes lay on the floor and resulted in an easy basket for the Kings.

The Timberwolves had to call time out to stop play, and Gomes left the court. An X-ray on the knee was negative, but he was withheld from the rest of the game and is questionable for Monday night's game at Utah.

Kevin Love had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Corey Brewer added 16 points for the Timberwolves , who had brief control of the game in parts of the first and second quarters. They went up 18-13 on two free throws by Jonny Flynn with 6:30 to play in the first, and started the second with a 10-2 run that put them up 42-39 with 8:53 left.

But as they have done so often this season, the Wolves countered sporadic sharp play with long bouts of sloppiness, particularly on defense. Big forward Jason Thompson had his way inside for the Kings, scoring 17 first-half points, and the Wolves had no answer for big guard Tyreke Evans, who was 6 for 10 from the field for 16 points before intermission.

Fatigue was a factor, but not an excuse, Love said.

"It's hard traveling, it's hard playing back-to-backs," Love said. "But we're not any different from any other team in the league. We came out and thought we could outscore them, and didn't really play well on defense. It just got, uh ... they scored 120 points on us."

After halftime, it started getting ugly. Though Minnesota pulled within 68-66 with a crisp series of transition baskets, the Wolves soon got into a running game and couldn't keep up. The Kings answered with a 13-3 run, punctuated by a Spencer Hawes dunk off a bad turnover.

Damian Wilkins, inbounding from under the basket, had his deep toss picked off, starting a two-on-none break. Hawes' basket prompted a timeout from Rambis, though it didn't stanch the bleeding. Minnesota fell behind by 20 when Hawes flushed a no-look pass from guard Sergio Rodriguez with just under a minute left in the third quarter.

"We were playing way too fast, we turned the ball over and weren't setting anything up," Love said. "That's why the score was what it was."

Hawes put the Kings up 108-81 with a transition lay-in with 7:34 left to play, and the action on the court started resembling a high-priced pickup game, though the locals got their money's worth on a slew of Sacramento transition dunks.

By game's end, the Kings had 33 assists to Minnesota's 14 and outrebounded the Wolves 52-45, led by Thompson's 12.

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Added: December 14, 2009


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