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Andrew Wiggins carries Minnesota Timberwolves past Sacramento Kings

MINNEAPOLIS -- Early energy and clutch shooting late proved to be a winning combination for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.Andrew Wiggins led the way with 32 points as Minnesota led by as many as 14 early, then overcame a late rally by the ...

MINNEAPOLIS - Early energy and clutch shooting late proved to be a winning combination for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
Andrew Wiggins led the way with 32 points as Minnesota led by as many as 14 early, then overcame a late rally by the Sacramento Kings and ended a four-game losing streak, winning 99-95.
Trailing 90-89 with just over two minutes to play, Wiggins hit a shot with 2 minutes, 4 seconds to play to give his team the lead, then drained two free throws with 80 seconds remaining, and two more with 1.8 seconds left as the Wolves survived.
Ricky Rubio hit four free throws in the final 14 seconds for the Wolves.
“I thought Ricky kept us in the thing,” Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell said. “We played with a lot more poise down the stretch. We didn’t panic. We didn’t rush things. We felt like we could get a shot.”
DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 and added 11 rebounds for Sacramento (10-16), which saw its three-game winning streak snapped. It was the 13th double-double for Cousins this season. Rudy Gay added 20 points for the Kings.
“I’ve been scoring the ball well this year,” said Wiggins, who recorded his first double-double of the season. “But I have to do other stuff to help my team. Rebound, assists, get the hockey assists, it don’t matter. Whatever it takes to help my team.”
Shabazz Muhammad came off the bench to score 16 for Minnesota (10-16), which won at home for just the fourth time this season. The Wolves led by eight early in the fourth quarter but went more than six minutes without a basket, letting the Kings take over the game for a time.
The Wolves hit a quintet of 3-pointers in the first half, leading by as many as 14 at one point, but the Kings chipped away and took their first lead of the game with 1:44 left in the second quarter when Rudy Gay hit a fall-away 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Minnesota hit the final two baskets of the half to lead 58-54 at the break, paced by 17 points from Andrew Wiggins. Sacramento got 14 first-half points from Gay, while Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns led all rebounders with five each.
“We had to be punched before we reacted,” Kings coach George Karl said. “I don’t know if we’re good enough to do that on the road.”
Reuters
Rajon Rondo, playing in his first game back for the Kings after serving a one-game league mandated suspension for anti-gay remarks directed at an official, had to leave the game late in the first quarter after being inadvertently hit in the face. He returned before halftime with a bandage over his right eye and had six first-half points. Rondo, who is leading the league in assists, finished with 13.

“Our energy was low,” said Rondo, who got six stitches after catching an elbow. “We put our heads down when they scored a couple baskets. We turned the ball over to start the game and they capitalized. We didn’t get back in transition. It was a mixture of a lot of things that allowed them to get that 14-point lead in the first quarter.”

Sacramento stayed close in the third, but could not get a lead, as Minnesota held an 83-77 advantage after three quarters.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
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