Despite double-doubles from Kevin Love & Gorgui Dieng, the Minnesota Timberwolves couldn't overcome the play of DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings down the stretch as they fell in Sacramento 103-106.
Kevin Love scored 43 points and added 11 rebounds & 1assist, while rookie Gorgui Dieng went off for 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals & 2 blocks. This is the fifth time Love has scored 40 or more in a game this season. The Wolves are now 1-4 in those games.
Gorgui Dieng was especially impressive with his all-around stat line against one of his most formidable opponents thus far, during Dieng's time as a starter. DeMarcus Cousins turned in a great game, but Dieng definitely got under his skin and turned in a stellar performance of his own.
Cousins finished with 35 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. However, he also picked up a technical foul after protesting a foul call that went against him. They showed it on the TV and you can clearly see him mouth the words "That's Bullsh*t". Shortly thereafter he was hit with the technical. That means he'll be suspended for Sacramento's next game, which (unfortunately for him) is the season finale. There were a lot of Kings fans clamoring for the technical to be 'rescinded' by the NBA, which would allow him to play, but I don't see that happening--nor should it.
There was a recent article about Cousins in ESPN the Magazine about how 'misunderstood' Cousins has been during his time in the NBA and because he's never been in trouble with the law (like other NBA players) he's really not that bad a guy. When you're punching guys in the stomach (Houston's Patrick Beverley earlier this season) and throwing temper tantrums when you're called for a foul--then there's a reason you have a bad reputation and you simply need to GROW UP!
Minnesota's loss is a combination of factors, however one glaring issue was the play from the Timberwolves' starting backcourt. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin (who returned after a six-game absence) went a combined 0-for-12 from the field, with just 2 points. Rubio added 11 assists and thus did contribute, but Martin was pretty dreadful.
On the other hand, the starting backcourt of Isaiah Thomas & Ben McLemore combined for 33 points on 12-for-24 shooting.
When big-time scorers like Kevin Love & Kevin Martin return to the lineup, it's obvious that you have to defer to them. When your second-leading scorer in K-Mart struggles like he does tonight, it puts a massive burden on the rest of your team. Love, Dieng and even Mbah a Moute (who scored a season-high 12 points off the bench) played well, but it just wasn't enough.
Minnesota got within a single possession multiple times in the final seconds of the game, but they just couldn't catch any breaks down the stretch after blowing yet another lead midway through the final quarter. Gorgui Dieng nailed a triple as the buzzer sounded to add a sliver of a silver lining to tonight's game.
The Wolves have now played 80 games and are once again at .500 on the season. With just two games remaining, the Wolves need a win vs. the Warriors tomorrow night and a win over the Jazz (in MIN) on Wednesday to finish above .500 for the first time since 04-05. Regardless, the Wolves will already finish with the best record since that 04-05 season.
Tomorrow game vs. Golden State will tip at 9:30pmCST from the Bay Area, enjoy the game.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!