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Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published November 02 2012

Barea, Timberwolves take opener from Kings

MINNEAPOLIS – J.J. Barea had 21 points and five assists in 28 minutes for Minnesota, helping the Timberwolves overcome a weak shooting performance in their season opener and beat the Sacramento Kings 92-80 on Friday night.

Brandon Roy pitched in 10 points, six assists and five rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists as both players returned to NBA action for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season.

Isaiah Thomas had 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter for the Kings, who trailed for most of the game but overtook the Wolves for a stretch after halftime. Reserve Marcus Thornton had 15 points, but DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans were quiet.

Barea and his bench buddies led the way for the Wolves, who will be without stars Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) and Kevin Love (broken right hand) for at least the first month of the season. Greg Stiemsma hounded Cousins around the basket and had nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 16 minutes.

The Wolves shot 2 for 17 from 3-point range.

Nikola Pekovic, who finished 2 for 8 from the field in a bruising matchup against Cousins, finally made his first basket with 4:10 left when he got loose on a fast break and dropped in a layup off a slick pass from Kirilenko to stretch the lead to 82-74 and finally give the home team a comfortable cushion again.

Cousins led the Kings in almost every significant statistical category last season, but with Pekovic and Stiemsma bothering him in the paint he had just 11 points and four rebounds. Evans, who had 21 points and eight rebounds in the Kings’ opener, finished with six points on 3-for-14 shooting.

The Wolves built a 45-27 lead in the second quarter, but their inability to sink any outside shots caught up with them, and the lead shrunk to nine points by halftime. Then the Kings, with Thomas making three 3-pointers in the period, came surging out of the locker room. The Wolves missed 10 of their first 12 shots in the second half.

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Sacramento 18 23 24 15 – 80

Minnesota 28 22 20 22 – 92

SACRAMENTO (80): Johnson 2-5 1-2 5, Thompson 4-10 2-2 10, Cousins 5-13 1-1 11, Thomas 7-13 3-4 20, Evans 3-14 0-0 6, Outlaw 1-4 0-0 2, Thornton 6-13 3-3 15, Brooks 0-5 0-0 0, Hayes 1-3 1-2 3, Robinson 0-1 2-2 2, Garcia 0-3 0-0 0, Fredette 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 32-89 13-16 80.

MINNESOTA (92): Kirilenko 4-7 2-3 10, Williams 3-12 2-4 8, Pekovic 2-8 5-8 9, Ridnour 4-7 0-0 9, Roy 4-14 2-4 10, Shved 0-3 0-0 0, Budinger 3-12 3-3 9, Barea 6-11 8-8 21, Cunningham 3-6 1-2 7, Stiemsma 3-7 3-4 9. Totals 32-87 26-36 92.

3-Point Goals - Sacramento 3-16 (Thomas 3-7, Garcia 0-1, Evans 0-1, Fredette 0-1, Brooks 0-2, Thornton 0-4), Minnesota 2-17 (Ridnour 1-2, Barea 1-2, Williams 0-1, Shved 0-2, Budinger 0-5, Roy 0-5). Fouled Out - None. Rebounds - Sacramento 56 (Hayes 11), Minnesota 69 (Cunningham 9). Assists - Sacramento 17 (Evans 4), Minnesota 17 (Roy 6). Total Fouls - Sacramento 34, Minnesota 17. A - 19,356 (19,356).