On this night, even a good team wouldn’t have been able to stop Kevin Love, let alone the dismal Sacramento Kings.
Love scored 23 points and grabbed 24 boards as the Kings fell 97-89 to the Timberwolves at Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday night. Love was 8-17 from the field, including two 3-pointers.
“It wasn’t about me,” Love said. “It was about the team getting a win.”
The Timberwolves napped a five-game losing streak against the Kings, who despite their best efforts, could not rally back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and fell to a record of 4-10 on the season.
The game was a tight one in the first half, with Minnesota grabbing the lead late in the first quarter, but the Kings stuck around and trailed 48-45 at the break.
However, the Timberwolves grabbed control of the game in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 13 at one point after two consecutive baskets by Luke Ridnour.
But the Kings would rally in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans scored seven points early to put them back in the game, and an Isaiah Thomas And-1 put the Kings within three points of the Timberwolves with 3:36 to play.
Two free throws by DeMarcus Cousins cut the lead to two (91-89) with 1:20 left, but that was when Minnesota closed things out once and for all. Nikola Pekovic answered with a driving layup, then Cousins’ attempt from five feet out was blocked by Andrei Kirilenko. Kevin Love followed that up with a wild shot that somehow found the bottom of the net, putting the Timberwolves up by six with 27 seconds remaining.
The Kings were not happy with their performance late in the game, with a chance to complete the comback.
“The way you play in the first three quarters you can’t play in the fourth,” said forward-center Chuck Hayes. “It’s a different ballgame in the fourth, especially if it’s a close game.”
Head coach Keith Smart echoed his dissapointment.
“(Late in games) it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes,” Smart said. “It’s the two-minute drill. How many mistakes will you make in the two-minute drill? When you make a lot of mistakes in the two-minute, three-minute drill, you’re not going to be on the side of winning.”