The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Sacramento Kings 113-104 on Wednesday night.
Karl-Antony Towns led the team with 26 points and 11 rebounds, his 42nd double-double of the year. Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine had 23 points, with all of LaVine’s points coming in the second half. Dieng had 16 points and 12 rebounds; Ricky Rubio had seven points, 12 assists.
“We did what we had to do to win the game,” said interim head coach Sam Mitchell. “We played hard, in the second half we moved the ball. We limited our turnovers.”
All five Wolves starters finished with a double-digit plus-minus rating. Four of the five bench players played ended up in the minus, with Tayshaun Prince the lone plus player at plus-3. Minnesota finished with 18 points off the bench; Sacramento had 40.
Rajon Rondo led the Kings in scoring, with 25 points. All five Sacramento starters were in the minus, but three of the four bench players were in the plus.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line, with Minnesota shooting 53.6 percent and Sacramento 52.2 percent. LaVine was 5-for-10 and said he’d hear it from his dad that night after the game.
“I just think Zach has kinda been going back and forth with his free throws all year,” said Mitchell, who noted that LaVine made 47-of-50 at practice the day before. “We shoot them every day. You have to make 45 out of 50 every day before you leave.”
Wiggins had a massive dunk over Towns’ former Kentucky teammate, Willie Cauley-Stein:
LaVine broke ankles:
And Towns went coast to coast. “I look at it like this, as long as he’s not in foul trouble, if the worst thing happens, if the little guard steps in front of him and he runs him over, it’s not a bad thing — especially if it’s their starting point guard,” said Mitchell, causing everyone to burst out in laughter.
“If they want to step in front of a 6’11” guy, 240, going full speed, and take that charge, and it’s early in the game, that doesn’t concern me.”
The team lacked focus in the first half, but turned it on late in the game to pull off the win over a Sacramento team lacking DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore.
LaVine said that he felt fine but took a while to get into the rhythm of the game. “Sometimes it’s hard,” he said, “But I just looked to be a little more aggressive in the second half and just knocked down shots.”
Wiggins said he could tell there was a big difference in the atmosphere after playing in front of a packed house on Monday. “It was a different vibe,” he said. “People are going to come out for the Cleveland games, the Oklahoma City games, Golden State games. We’re just trying to bring people back.”
And Towns felt the team executed the game plan and moved the ball well, especially in the second half: