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Kings at Timberwolves Game Thread

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The Wolves begin a four game homestand tonight against the Sacramento Kings.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Kings at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

Happy New Year everyone!  I'm back from visiting my parents at their new place in Philadelphia, which was excellent fun, but my change in venue did not, apparently, change the fortunes of the Wolves, who failed to win while I was out of town.

Like me, the Wolves are back home to begin a four game homestand tonight against the Kings, with the Jazz, Nuggets, and Suns following, a couple of which will be seen live by our friend YoLeo who is making a trip to the Twin Cities to watch the Wolves and impress his girlfriend with his ability to choose winter vacation destinations.

Oh. Before I forget: Tottenham Hotspur 5, Chelsea FC 3.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the Kings. The Kings have cooled considerably since their hot start to the year, dropping to 13-19 on the season following the firing of Mike Malone as head coach. They are 2-6 under interim coach Ty Corbin, which is not too surprising.

Still, things are looking up for the Kings, as DeMarcus Cousins has emerged as a true star, averaging 24 and 12 in just over 32 minutes a game. He completely dominated the Wolves in the first matchup between these teams back in November, going for 31 and 18 and making Gorgui Dieng look bad.

The Kings have some definite strengths that the Wolves will have to find ways to deal with if they want to end their losing streak tonight. Led by Cousins and Rudy Gay, they are tops in the league at getting to the free throw line. They are aggressive toward the basket, and Cousins has such size and strength, that teams are forced into committing a ton of fouls against them.

They are also a terrific rebounding team, especially at the offensive end, where they are 2nd in the league in Oreb%. This is a huge problem for the Wolves, who are among the weakest defensive rebounding squads in the NBA.

Both of these things hurt the Wolves in the first match up, as the Kings won both the Oreb% battle, and FT/FGA battle among the four factors. Where the Kings are consistently weak is in turnover disparity, something the Wolves will look to take advantage of, and hopefully generate some open floor opportunities. And, you know, convert them.

On the Wolves side, I haven't been able to watch the last couple of games, but it appears to be more or less business as usual. Prior to that, it looked like Andrew Wiggins was making a concerted effort to get more shots around the basket and settle for fewer mid-range jumpers. From the shot charts, it looks like that's a trend that has continued. Yes? No?

Shabazz Muhammad looks like he broke out of something of a mini-slump with a big scoring game against Utah the other night, including 5-6 from three. That's unexpected.

What else has been going on?

Expected lineups

Kings

Darren Collison
Ben McLemore
Rudy Gay
Jason Thompson
DeMarcus Cousins

Wolves

Zach LaVine
Andrew Wiggins
Shabazz Muhammad
Thaddeus Young
Gorgui Dieng

Here's a link to our blogging buddies at Sactown Royalty. Be excellent.

No no and no.

Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.

Oh yeah. Spurs 5-3 Chelsea.