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The Sports Xchange, Published January 15 2014

Kings sneak past Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS – After Tuesday’s loss in Indiana, forward Rudy Gay apologized to his Sacramento Kings teammates.

Gay had scored 12 points – not enough in a 14-point loss to the Pacers and not enough for the leader of a team he feels can be very good.

“If we’re going to be a good team, I have to be more consistent,” Gay said. “When we left the hotel tonight, I knew I had to come out here and perform for my team.”

Mission accomplished. Gay scored a season-high 33 points in Sacramento’s

111-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at Target Center. He made 12 of 19 shots, including all three of the

3-pointers he took. Gay hit a clutch 26-foot trey with 19.5 seconds left to help hold off a Timberwolves team that, lethargic most of the night, awoke for a late charge. He made all six of his free throws and had six assists.

Despite a final three minutes that Kings coach Michael Malone called “excruciating,” the Kings (14-23) emerged with their fourth victory in five games.

Despite 27 points from forward Kevin Love and double-figure scoring from five other Wolves, Minnesota (18-20) lost its second straight game and its third in four games.

“It was a poor game on our part,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “It took us three and a half quarters to go out there and challenge them. We aren’t going to win that way.”

Center DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento. He scored out of a time out with 49 seconds left and hit two free throws with 8.6 seconds left. Guard Isaiah Thomas had 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter and two on free throws that sealed the game with 4.1 seconds left. Forward Derrick Williams had 16 points in his first game at Target Center since being traded away from Minnesota in late November. Together the Kings shot 54.9 percent to the Wolves’ 44.2 and had a 45-34 edge on the boards.

The Kings controlled much of the game after Gay had seven points in a 15-4 Kings run to end the first half that gave them a 58-47 lead entering the third quarter.

That lead was still 10 after three quarters and stood at 11 with 3:18 left when Thomas hit a 3-pointer.

Then things got dicey. Over the next 2:17 the Wolves went on an 8-0 run to pull within 102-99 on guard Alexey Shved’s basket with 1:01 left.

Cousins scored out of a time out, but then Love hit a 3-pointer to pull the Wolves within two. Gay’s

3-pointer pushed the lead to five, but Love hit another trey with 17.4 seconds left.

The Kings didn’t fold, with Cousins and Thomas hitting free throws down the stretch.

“We have to do a better job of closing games out,” Malone said.

Sacramento 24 34 25 28—111

Minnesota 23 24 26 35—108

SACRAMENTO (111)

Thomas 10-16 4-4 26, J.Thompson 3-7 0-0 6, Gay 12-19 6-6 33, Cousins 9-19 2-2 20, Thornton 0-5 2-2 2, Dr.Williams 7-11 2-3 16, Acy 1-1 0-2 2, McLemore 0-0 0-0 0, Fredette 1-2 0-0 2, Outlaw 0-0 0-0 0, Gray 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 45-82 16-19 111.

MINNESOTA (108)

Love 9-16 5-6 27, Pekovic 5-12 4-5 14, C.Brewer 4-8 4-5 12, Rubio 2-6 0-0 5, Kv.Martin 6-14 2-2 14, Shved 4-10 4-5 13, Barea 5-14 3-4 14, Turiaf 2-2 0-2 4, Budinger 1-4 0-0 3, Cunningham 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 39-88 22-29 108.

3-Point Goals: Sacramento 5-12 (Gay 3-3, Thomas 2-5, Dr.Williams 0-1, Thornton 0-3), Minnesota 8-20 (Love 4-6, Budinger 1-2, Rubio 1-2, Shved 1-4, Barea 1-5, C.Brewer 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Sacramento 51 (Cousins 11), Minnesota 45 (Love 11). Assists: Sacramento 19 (Thomas 7), Minnesota 23 (Love, Rubio 5). Total Fouls: Sacramento 22 (Cousins 5), Minnesota 23 (Pekovic, Barea 5). A—12,399.