Heading in to the final stanza of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ five game road trip, the skies over the team seem as gray as they ever have. Four straight losses have the squad reeling in 13th place of the western conference with a 4-8 record. Unfortunately, their final opponent before heading back to the comfort of Target Center are no longer an easy-beat. In fact, the Sacramento Kings have turned themselves into one of the league’s most exciting young squads.
The Kings currently hold a 6-5 record, with the emergence of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and former Wolf Nemanja Bjelica propelling them into a truly competitive team. They will also be boosted by Bogdan Bogdanovic, who made his season debut in their previous game. Despite the hot start to the season, the Kings are also riding a losing skid, after dropping their last two games to the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, respectively.
With drama and poor play surrounding the Timberwolves, it is imperative that they come out strong, with defensive rebounding being the biggest key to winning. On the season, the Wolves are dead last in defensive rebounding percentage. It all came to a head on Wednesday night, when Tyson Chandler and the Los Angeles Lakers collected three crucial offensive boards to slam the door closed on another Wolves loss. The good news on that front is that the Kings are ranked 29th in offensive rebounding percentage, so it should be an easier night on the defensive glass for Karl-Anthony Towns and Co.
Defense will also be key, as both teams rank in the bottom 10 in defensive rating. Minnesota are dwelling in 29th position, while Sacramento are ranked 21st. Whatever team decides to show up and play some defense will likely come out on top. The Kings are currently ranked second in pace of play, too, so the up and down play against the Lakers will hopefully be a nice practice run.
Jeff Teague is likely to be out with his nagging knee injury, presumably giving Derrick Rose another start. The 30-year-old Rose is enjoying a resurgence at the moment, averaging 26 points, 3 rebounds and 4.5 assists over the last three outings. As usual, the injury status of Jimmy Butler (A.K.A General Soreness) will be up to him.
Injuries: Jeff Teague (Knee), Justin Patton (Foot)
Head over to Sactown Royalty for all your Kings related coverage.