When you think of basketball excellence; what pops into your mind? When you think of a well-respected team with a strong national presence; what team do you envision? How about a sports team that wins a lot of games; who comes to mind? Wait a minute. I’m getting word that today is opposite day. In fact, it appears this season the Sacramento Kings have usurped the Minnesota Timberwolves as the “Most Fun Up And Coming Team Who Has Been Down In The Dumps For A Long Time.”
Let’s lock in, as the two forgotten stepchildren of the NBA face off to give their desperate fan bases something to cheer for!
- Who: Sacramento Kings (27-20; 3rd) at Minnesota Timberwolves (26-25; 8th)
- When: 7:00 PM CST
- Local TV: Bally Sports North Extra (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen, Katie Storm)
- Line: Wolves +3.0 | Total: 237 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Kings have no injuries to report for Saturday's game against the Timberwolves. Minnesota is playing Memphis tonight. Rudy Gobert (groin) is questionable. Jordan McLaughlin (calf), Taurean Prince (ankle) and Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) are out.— Jason Anderson (@JandersonSacBee) January 27, 2023
What To Watch
- Though Domantas Sabonis has rightfully earned all-star attention for the Kings, I’m most excited to see the battle between each team’s scoring leaders, De’Aaron Fox versus Anthony Edwards. Fox is averaging 23.8/4.3/6.1 on .508/.333/.785 splits while Ant is averaging 24.5/6.0/4.5 on .459/.371/.775 splits. They’re not too far off and have both popped up in the All-Star bubble conversation. It’s very possible that they’re battling for one of the final Western Conference guard spots. Fox received 35 player votes to Ant’s 22, though Fox’s fan vote was nearly double Ant’s. Will their play in the next two games effect the All-Star coaches decisions for the reserves?
- The Rudy Gobert versus Domantas Sabonis matchup will be interesting to watch. Sabonis is knocking down triples at a 37.0% clip this season, but attempting just 1.2 per game. Rudy won’t have to deal with a stretch big, though Sabonis’ handiwork from the high post may still pose a problem. Finch won’t be able to hide Rudy anywhere else, as all other Sacramento starters are above average three-point shooters outside of Fox, who McDaniels will likely be tasked to handle.
- The Kings are the #1 team in offensive rating and have been near the top of the league for most of the season. They achieve this through sharing the ball (6th in AST%) and effective scoring (3rd in eFG%), top 7 in 3P numbers). This might be problematic for the Wolves as they allow their opponents the 4th most 3PM per game on the 5th best 3P%. On the other hand...
- The Wolves are #8 in points in the paint. Sacramento gives up the 3rd most points in the paint. On offense, it will be a battle of perimeter versus paint between these two teams. Minnesota has the better overall defensive metrics, but expect this to be a high scoring affair.
- The Kings are coming off a season-low in scoring in their loss against the Raptors and have had three days to stew on it. They will fix that tonight, led by Kevin Huerter’s season-high 33 points on 11 three-pointers.
- The Fox versus Ant duel will end after they both turn into animorphic versions of themselves. You know, like in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The giant mutant ant defeats the giant fox.
- Nate Knight throws down a cool dunk to seal the victory. Wolves win, 128-123.