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Game Preview #55: Wolves at Kings

Let’s talk about something bigger than basketball tonight.

NBC Sports / Reddit

It brings me little to no joy to dunk on my hometown team. A year ago, I was having a blast writing subpar The Shawshank Redemption-Kings/Wolves fan fiction with my best friend, The Kings Herald (TKH) writer/podcaster, Will Griffith. The stakes were so low back then, with both our franchises toiling in the gutters of the Western Conference standings at the end of the season. And now? It appears that only the Kings remain in Shawshank State Prison, slowly picking away at those concrete walls one Rita Hayworth poster at a time.

However.

I urge our awesome Canis Hoopus community to come together in unison with our friends over at TKH. If you haven’t heard what’s been going on over there, Will has started an initiative labeled Operation: Money for Charities and Nonprofits as Incompetence Restitution. M.C.N.A.I.R. for short. In a nutshell, he has urged the Kings fanbase to combat the franchise’s reluctance to tank and rebuild by donating towards local charities after every Kings loss. They have raised well over $2,500 towards great causes in just TWO weeks (The Kings have lost a lot) towards causes such as lupus research, food literacy, child abuse prevention, and many others. M.C.N.A.I.R. has even remained active during the 2 lone wins during this stretch as well!

Today, in protest honor of the Tyrese Haliburton trade, he is imploring those who are willing and able to donate towards ASXL Rare Research Endowment. Will detailed more in his TKH game preview:

There’s a newly five month old Sacramento-area resident named Cooper Crowe who has been diagnosed with ASXL3, and who I’d like to donate on behalf of, tonight or whichever game our next round of donations goes out. This week is Feeding Tube Awareness Week, something that Cooper requires the use of, and I’d like to think that between now and Cooper’s first Rare Disease Day on the 28th of February, we can ensure he feels celebrated and loved by his hometown. I’ll throw in the Instagram that his parents run in the hopes of building awareness for Cooper’s condition and if you’d like to follow them or just send some encouraging words their way, I’m all for making their lives that much brighter. In the instance that the Kings lose tonight, I’m donating DOUBLE - the loss of Haliburton and a second loss in consecutive nights deserves at least that.

Tonight (or the night of the next loss, I guess) I’m asking that you please write-in that your donation is in honor of Cooper Crowe or The Crowe Family, and if you’d like to mention Operation:M.C.N.A.I.R. or Haliburton they have a separate notes section for that inclusion. If for some reason you can only pick one, I ask you write in Cooper’s name and know that we as a community will be just as proud of you.

Win or lose, let’s join hands with our fellow NBA poverty franchise tonight. They’re enduring times that, no so long ago, we were facing as well. Even if you weren’t around during that stretch(es), let’s still do it for Cooper.


Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (29-25; 7th) at Sacramento Kings (20-36; 13th)
When: 9:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


Injury Report


What To Watch For

  • Then there’s basketball. The bench has absolutely carried the Wolves to victory the last few games. It was obvious that the shorthanded Kings team would struggle against them as well, as Sacramento trotted out 3 of their G-league players in their 2nd unit. Tonight, those 3 will be replaced with their 3 new acquisitions from the Pacers. Fresh off the plane and likely without any more than a walk-through practice, we’ll see how team chemistry will look like for Sacramento. Regardless, I’m definitely tuning in to watch the Greatest Bench Ever (GBE) thrive.
  • De’Aaron Fox got his, as expected, during his return from injury last night. 29/7/6 on 50% shooting is nothing to sneeze at considering how long he had been out. That said, will that be sustainable on the end of a back-to-back? Even the best players in the NBA need a few games to be fully “back” after such a long layoff. Fox will certainly have more help tonight, but I’ll be curious to see how Coach Finch schemes the defense to slow him down.
  • Damian Jones made two 17-18 foot jumpers last night in the 1st quarter. I doubt he’ll put up 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting again because Richaun Holmes is active. I’ll be watching to see if Holmes puts on a revenge game (against the Kings for unsuccessfully trading him) tonight. His push shots and offensive putbacks are real, folks.

Predictions

  • Boss10, who was in attendance last night, has a helluva time at the game in honor of the Canis faithful. He gets D’Lo’s shoes after the game and during that exchange, Boss shares to Russell that cutting his transition pull-up 3-pointers out of his game would help increase his TS% by at least 7%. The Wolves media team has to cut out that exchange on social media.
  • Sabonis rumbles and tumbles his way to a triple-double, collecting box score stats left and right. The 3,900 fans in attendance roar in ecstasy as he earns his 10th assist in garbage time. Meanwhile, a shadowy figure in the Kings tunnel claps in approval. Yep. Former disgraced Kings GM, Vlade Divac, sheds a tear of happiness for the European big man successor that finally can follow in his footsteps: Georgios Papagiannis Domantas Sabonis.
  • Ant finds his groove and pours in 40 points. Not only does that quiet the murmuring of concern regarding his knee, it also pushes him past Kevin Durant and Luka Dončić in games of 40+ points before age 21, as he logs his 5th one. He now only trails LeBron James by 3 games.
  • A valiant effort from the Kings come up short as the Wolves bench help pull away in the 4th quarter. Wolves win 123-110 and extend their win-streak to 66 6 in Basketball Hell.
  • The Kings and Timberwolves fan bases join forces to raise $4,576 (Combined total amount of losses between the Kings & Wolves franchise histories) towards ASXL3 research.