Wolves grind out road win over Kings

Published 2:35 pm Saturday, November 28, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For a team that has struggled at home this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have fared surprisingly well away from Target Center.

It helps having what Andre Miller calls one of the deepest benches in the NBA.

Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, Zach LaVine added 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Timberwolves got a big game from their reserves in a 101-91 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

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“I don’t care if it’s home or road, it’s hard to win in this league,” Minnesota coach Sam Mitchell said. “Our guys, for a young team, to just grind it out, play defense, rebound, and limit their mistakes … I’m proud of them.”

Shabazz Muhammad had 15 points and Miller added 12 points and four assists to help the Timberwolves to their third straight win and first over the Kings since March 16, 2014. Minnesota, which has lost six of eight at home, improved to 6-2 on the road.

“We are picking it up and getting better every game,” Wiggins said. “If we won the games we were supposed to win at home, our record would be a lot better right now. But I do feel like it’s going to pick up.”

LaVine scored 14 points in the second half of his return to the lineup, helping Minnesota pull away. LaVine was starting in place of Ricky Rubio, who was sidelined by a left ankle injury.

Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 16 assists for Sacramento.

The Kings had won four straight against the Timberwolves, but they fell behind early in the second quarter and couldn’t recover.

“I felt like we had no sense of urgency defensively,” Sacramento’s Omri Casspi said. “They got whatever they wanted and we couldn’t get stops.”

Coming off wins over Atlanta and Philadelphia, Minnesota held a slim 86-80 edge with 6 minutes left. Wiggins made two free throws and a 3-pointer, LaVine scored four points and Gorgui Dieng added two free throws to help the Timberwolves pull away.


Sacramento (6-11) entered with a worse record than Minnesota (8-8) and was without its best player, but Kings coach George Karl believes his team overlooked the Timberwolves.

“I think a lot of ways we fatigued by not respecting our opponent because this is a good young team,” Karl said. “You hear Minnesota Timberwolves and Wiggins is maybe an All-Star. I don’t know if he’ll be an All-Star this year but he’ll be an All-Star someday.”


Rondo played in four consecutive All-Star games from 2010-13 with Boston and might be headed back in his first season in Sacramento. The 29-year-old point guard, who leads the NBA in assists and triple-doubles, became the first player since 1977-78 to have 16 points, 16 assists and no turnovers, according to Elias Sports Bureau.


Timberwolves: Minnesota did not score any fast-break points and committed 18 turnovers. … Kevin Garnett, coming off his best game of the season when he came two points shy of a double-double against the 76ers, was held to two points in 17 minutes. … Rubio got hurt Wednesday against Philadelphia. … F Nemanja Bjelica sat out his fourth straight game with a bruised left knee.

Kings: Rudy Gay had his worst game of the season, scoring a season-low two points on 1-of-13 shooting. It was Gay’s fewest points since he was shut out by Golden State on Jan. 23 last season. … Rondo had 11 assists in the first half. … C DeMarcus Cousins missed his second straight game due to a lower back strain. The Kings are 1-6 this season without Cousins. … Caron Butler also did not play because of a left ankle sprain


Timberwolves: At Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Kings: At Golden State on Saturday.