No matter how the Minnesota Timberwolves battled back in the end, it came down to the last 4.6 seconds. When Rudy Gay and the Sacramento Kings beat the Wolves 111-108.
Gay had 33 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Isaiah Thomas had 26 points and seven assists.
“He’s such a pro,” Kings coach Michael Malone said of Gay, who was held in check in a loss to Indiana the previous night. “After the game in Indiana, I said a couple of words and he stepped up and apologized to his teammates for how he played last night. He felt he didn’t show up.”
And show up he did.
Gay hit 12 of 19 shots and Derrick Williams had 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting in his first game at Target Center since the Timberwolves traded him to the Kings in November. DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Kings shot 55 percent to win for the fourth time in five games.
The Wolves have now lost 0-11 in games decided by four points or less.
“We’re so hands-off defensively,” Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman lamented. “It almost takes an act of Congress to foul somebody. You have to get after people in this league.”
The Kings seemed to have the game won with a nine-point lead and under two minutes to play.
But Love hit two 3-pointers and J.J. Barea converted a three-point play that cut the deficit to 109-108 with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Gay hit a big 3 and Cousins hit a couple of clutch free throws down the stretch and Barea heave at the buzzer fell short.
The Kings had a three-game winning streak come to a crashing halt the previous night when they were drubbed by the Indiana Pacers. But they showed more energy, aggressiveness and spark from the opening tip against a team that had the previous two days off and is scratching and clawing to stay in the playoff conversation in the powerful Western Conference.
“I keep saying we’re better than our record indicates but until we go out there and win games in a row and beat teams that we feel we’re supposed to beat, we won’t go anywhere,” Love said. “We definitely need to start winning.”