Cousins, McLemore Lead Kings Past Wolves


To be good in the NBA, you have to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat and, although filled with talent, the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-9), lacking Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and others, are a team the Sacramento Kings (8-5) need to beat to be successful. A slow start from the Kings had fans upset, but the Kings in the fourth quarter would get their space as DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore led the Kings to a 113-101 victory.

Cousins’ 31 points and 18 rebounds and McLemore’s season-high 22 points, while hitting four three-pointers, were the highlights of the evening. The Kings had 24 assists but also turned the ball over 18 times in the win.

A sluggish start to the game for both teams resulted in a 6-4 Wolves lead after four minutes of play. From there, the game picked up and the defense went pretty much out the window. With the T-Wolves taking a page out of the Oklahoma City Thunder playbook, they played some zone on the poor perimeter shooting Kings, who went 1 for 7 from beyond the arc in the first period.

A depleted Minnesota team didn’t seem to let their banged up roster affect them, as they led by three at the end of the first quarter. Cousins benefited immensely from the lack of size the T-Wolves were able to put on the court, putting up eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter. The Kings shot a low 37% from the field in the quarter and committed five turnovers.

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Derrick Williams, once again, led the following quarter off balling, putting up four points in just over a minute, but with the Kings struggling to hit any outside jumpers, the Wolves gained control of the game early in the second. Their zone defense flustered the Kings who added four more turnovers in just six minutes of the second quarter.

A heavy dose of DeMarcus was just what the Kings needed as they fed the big man and he rewarded the team, scoring back-to-back buckets to cut into Minnesota’s seven point lead. A Gay basket got the lead down to three with four minutes remaining.

The Kings got a huge momentum swing when Ben McLemore clearly traveled after getting caught in the air with nowhere to go except down, and when he came down, there was no call, which led the McLemore kicking out to Darren Collison who splashed the trey and Flip Saunders earning himself a T; the four-point play evened the game. But, by halftime the Wolves would boast a 52-48 lead.

The Kings looked to turn a corner to begin the third quarter as they took control and took a 55-54 lead on a pair of Jason Thompson free throws. With the lead in hand, the Kings pushed on. With a McLemore three and Gay bucket to increase the lead. McLemore looked to believe in the old shooter’s saying: Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. And they started falling like Sacramento rain-drops, gloriously healing the drought of perimeter baskets. Just like that, it was a 10-point Kings lead with five minutes to go in the quarter.

Led by 13 third quarter points from McLemore, the Kings headed to the fourth up 84-77.

But the resilient Wolves weren’t ready to give up the game, as a quick cut into the Kings lead resulted in an early fourth quarter timeout for Malone. But the Kings responded as they had all game, and with a little under eight minutes to play, the Kings still held a nine-point lead.

No matter what the Kings did, the Wolves just wouldn’t let up, keeping the game at a reasonable margin the whole time. With under three minutes the Wolves were down five, until a three from Darren Collison silenced the hopeful crowd and gave the Wolves their final knockdown, and they wouldn’t get back up. DMC would drop an emphatic dunk on the Wolves with two minutes remaining to seal a solid road victory by the Kings. Next, the Kings head to New Orleans for a rematch of last week’s tough loss.


The Kings out-rebounded the Wolves by 13 in the game.

Derrick Williams had 12 points and six rebounds against his former team, playing a season-high 30 minutes in the game.