Wolves return to comforts of home with resounding rout of Kings
So far this season Target Center has, for the Timberwolves, been a refuge. Shelter from the cruel road. A place to heal.
And so it was, again, Monday.
After limping home from an 0-4 road trip out west, the Wolves got home and got busy, running to a 30-point halftime lead en route to a 131-105 victory over the Sacramento Kings a victory that might have taken some of the sting out of the 141-130 loss in Sacramento last week.
It was a victory, in front of an announced crowd of 12,417, that just about everybody, other than the injured Jeff Teague, had a hand in. Both the starters and the bench, which used the second quarter to pound the Kings playing on the back end of back-to-back nights to all but put up a white flag before the first half had ended.
Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Derrick Rose (13 points, 11 assists) both had double-doubles.
The bench scored 63 points, with Gorgui Dieng, Dario Saric, Tyus Jones and rookie Josh Okogie in double figures.
In all, a franchise-record nine Wolves players scored in double figures. Andrew Wiggins had 17, Robert Covington had 13, Taj Gibson had 14.
Sacramento was led by Buddy Hields 21.
It was that kind of night except for a strange lapse to start the third quarter.
After building a 15-point lead after a quarter ending the first on an 8-2 run the Wolves reserves, along with Covington just pushed the pedal to the metal to start the second.
To the tune of an 18-3 start to the quarter. The Wolves led by as many as 36 in the first half, turning missed shots into quick buckets, scoring 12 points on the break. It got so bad that Kings coach Dave Joerger never put his starters back in the game. They sat to end the second quarter, and they sat in the second half.
At one point in the second quarter Okogie stole the ball, driving the length of the court to score. At the other end he blocked a shot. And then he fed Dieng for a dunk that put the Wolves up 30. Out of a time out Okogie flew high to grab an alley-oop pass from Tyus Jones, flushing it as the crowd roared.
Moments later the Wolves were up 63-28.
Up 30, the Wolves let the Kings reserves at least make it a game. Sacramento started the second half on a 21-3 run, cutting the Wolves lead to 12. But Covingtons three-point play started a 7-0 run that put the Wolves back in control; the lead was back to 26 entering the fourth.
In so many ways this feel like a few weeks ago. Back in early November the Wolves limped home after an 0-5 trip out west, traded Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia for Covington and Dario Saric and went on a 7-2 run, with all but one of those wins coming at home.
This was similar, without the trade.
The Wolves (14-16) are now 12-4 at home, 2-12 on the road. That includes an 0-for-11 mark on the road against Western Conference teams.
For the Wolves to climb back into the race in the Western Conference, that will need to change. Minnesota ends this short homestand by hosting Detroit Wednesday. Following that is a three-game road trip to San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Chicago. Starting Friday the Wolves will play six of seven games away from Target Centers friendly confines.