Minnesota (3-20) at Sacramento (9-12)

Fair Currently: Sacramento, CA
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Sat Dec 12, 2009
  • TV: KSTC, CSCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Sacramento Kings have excelled at one end of the floor this season and struggled at the other. For the Minnesota Timberwolves, almost nothing on the court has gone right this season.

It’s no surprise then that both teams enter their matchup in Sacramento on losing streaks and with subpar records.

The Kings will try to snap a four-game slide Saturday night with their fourth consecutive win over the Timberwolves, who have dropped three in a row.

With rookie guard Tyreke Evans(notes) and second-year forward Jason Thompson(notes) leading the way, Sacramento (9-12) has been one of the league’s top scoring teams with 104.4 points per game. The Kings have topped 100 in 16 of the last 18 after averaging 91.7 points in three October contests.

Sacramento’s problems have come with its backs to the basket, yielding 105.6 per game. After matching a season low by allowing 96 points at New Orleans on Tuesday night, Sacramento gave up a season high the following evening in a 118-106 loss at San Antonio.

Despite the defeat, guard Beno Udrih(notes) remained optimistic of a turnaround.

“We’ll get out of it,” he said. “Start getting better at the end of games; in the fourth quarter, finish the game. Take care of the ball a little better and be more patient.”

With an 8-3 home record, the Kings have a good chance to earn a win Saturday as they’ll face an opponent that’s dropped 10 of 11 on the road this season.

They also have Evans, who is second among rookie scorers with 20.2 points per game. The team’s leading scorer has also averaged 24.1 points in the five games this month.

This year’s other first-round draft pick, Omri Casspi(notes), scored a career-best 20 points off the bench in Wednesday’s loss.

Minnesota could give Sacramento’s beleaguered defense a break as it has one of the league’s worst offenses (92.2).

By that measure, the Timberwolves had an average effort in Friday night’s 104-92 road loss to the Lakers. Minnesota (3-20) trailed by only two at halftime but fell behind by 18 entering the final quarter in coach Kurt Rambis’ second matchup with his former team.

The Lakers used their patented triangle offense to win the NBA title last season and Rambis, a former assistant, brought that over to Minnesota in his first season, with little success so far.

The team’s only player to top 15 points Friday was Al Jefferson(notes), who matched a season high with 24. He’s also the only Minnesota player averaging more than 15 points at 16.0. It’s a far cry from his career-best 23.0 points per game in 50 games last season before a torn ACL ended his campaign.

“We work hard every day to get where Kurt got last year, but it’s going to take some time,” Jefferson said. “It was a great experience, because they’re running the same offense we run, but of course, we can learn a lot more.”

The Timberwolves are also allowing 103.2 points per contest on 46.9 percent shooting, and they’ve given up an average of 119.5 in back-to-back losses in Sacramento.

Minnesota hasn’t beaten the Kings on the road since March 7, 2008.

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Saturday, Dec 12