The road-weary Sacramento Kings wrapped up their season-long seven-game trip without DeMarcus Cousins—who was out with tendinitis in his right knee—and fell just short in a 104-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Cousins is listed as day-to-day and the Kings turned to Aaron Gray to start in his place. Minnesota was also without its starting center, as Nikola Pekovic sat out with a flare-up of the bursitis in his right ankle that sidelined him for a month earlier this year.
Rookie Gorgui Dieng played a big role for Minnesota in place of Pekovic, finishing with his first career double-double—12 points and 11 rebounds—and blocked five shots as the T-wolves officially eliminated the Kings from playoff contention.
Former King Kevin Martin passed a milestone in the win for Minnesota, hitting his 1,000th career 3-pointer.
The Timberwolves (33-32) took the lead for good with 1:07 left on a 3-pointer by Kevin Love and Martin hit six straight free throws in the final minute to help Minnesota hold off the Kings (23-44).
Sacramento cut the lead to one on Isaiah Thomas’ 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left and after Martin made a pair of foul shots to go back up by three, the Timberwolves—coached by former Kings mentor Rick Adelman—opted to foul rather than let the Kings get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Thomas made the first, intentionally missed the second and Dieng yanked down the rebound and was fouled by Gray with one second left.
Dieng missed both free throws, but the Kings were unable to get off a shot.
Thomas had 27 points and seven assists for the Kings, Derrick Williams came off the bench for 26 points and 11 boards against the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2011 and Rudy Gay scored 14 points but was just 6-for-15 from the floor.
Sacramento was 41-for-85 (48.2 percent) overall, 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range and 14-for-19 (73.7 percent) from the foul line. Minnesota was 34-for-78 (43.6 percent), 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) and 30-for-38 (78.9 percent).
The Kings had a sizeable 48-35 rebounding edge, but surrendered 18 points on 17 turnovers. Minnesota turned the ball over just nine times, leading to 13 Sacramento points.
The Kings finished the road trip 2-5 and return home to host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Tags: Sacramento Kings