Kings 101, Timberwolves 98

Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings won their third consecutive home game, outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-98 Thursday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento led 97-87 following a 9-0 run, but the Wolves made a strong run toward the end of the game. Ricky Rubio's two foul shots with 1:36 to play sliced the Kings' lead to 99-97.
Kings guard Tyreke Evans drove for a score with 41 seconds left to extend the advantage to four points. Rubio missed a foul shot, but teammate Nikola Pekovic got the offensive rebound and was fouled.
Pekovic hit one of two free throws, slicing the deficit to three, and the Wolves got a chance to tie when Evans turned the ball over.
Dante Cunningham's long 3-point attempt was off the mark in the final second.
Point guard Isaiah Thomas led the Kings (25-44) with 24 points. Evans scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to provide ample support. Center DeMarcus Cousins scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in just 28 minutes.
Pekovic finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Derrick Williams and Cunningham each added 12 points for Minnesota (23-43), and J.J. Barea had 11 points and six assists.
The Wolves made just one of 19 three-point attempts.
The Kings had lost four of their previous games against the Timberwolves, and early indications were Sacramento was again headed for trouble again. Minnesota led 55-43 with 1:25 left in the second quarter. However, Thomas and Patrick Patterson led the Kings on a 10-2 run, cutting their halftime deficit to 57-53 at the half.
The Kings continued their strong play in the third quarter, shooting 10-for-15 from the field to grab a 79-77 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: The Timberwolves played the middle game of three-game road swing. They are 7-27 away from home. ... Timberwolves forwards Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger are attempting to return from long injury-related absences. Kirilenko returned Sunday night after missing the previous nine games, while Budinger has missed the past 59 games with a meniscus tear in his left knee. Coach Rick Adelman said before the game Budinger's minutes will be limited. ... The Kings had made at least nine 3-pointers in three consecutive games before going 6-for-18 Thursday. They have scored 100 or more points in 17 of their past 19 games. The Kings have risen to 10th in the league in scoring. ... Adelman was the Kings' head coach for eight seasons. He said he has definite memories about his experience in Sacramento. "It's a shame they might leave," he said. "We had so many very good and entertaining teams. Obviously, they need to get a new building here. The team leaving would be bad for the fans, for the people who work here in and out of the basketball organization." ... The game drew an announced crowd of 12,176.

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