SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Kings were on fire Wednesday night and hit 19 of 38 three-pointers in downing the Wolves 141-130. You might think the Kings just had a lucky night shooting, but the Wolves didn’t view it that way.
They didn’t do a good enough job of preventing those attempts in the first place.
“When a guy hits a three, you have to run him off the line,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You can’t close short on him.”
To Thibodeau, the Wolves weren’t hustling enough to match the fast-paced Kings, who had the second-fastest offense in the league entering Wednesday. This led to holes in the defense that the Kings were able to exploit with ball movement to the weak side.
“The problem was we were in scramble situations because if you have one guy jogging back … now you have to cover for someone, now you’re leaving someone else open.”
Derrick Rose said there was also a lack of communication while Robert Covington said the Kings took advantage of every mistake the Wolves made.
“We didn’t string enough stops together to come out and get a win,” Covington said. “I think it was just one of them nights. They were making a lot of shots.”
Okogie gets in
Josh Okogie played six minutes off the bench to start the second quarter, a surprise given Okogie was the 10th man in Thibodeau’s rotation. Okogie has been the odd man out when Thibodeau has a healthy roster. Okogie played his minutes early in the second quarter, normally when Robert Covington plays with four bench players.
Thibodeau said Okogie’s minutes didn’t have anything to do with trying to limit Covington’s minutes.
“We were matching him with [Buddy] Hield,” Thibodeau said.
Covington played 31 minutes, scoring 17 points and said his knee felt fine after the game.
Wiggins’ strong night
One of the bright spots for the Wolves was the play of Andrew Wiggins, who had an efficient 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting. This came after Wiggins shot 14 of 33 in his previous two games.
Wiggins missed his first two shots of the night – both 3-point attempts – and changed his mindset after that.
“I was just trying to get to the rim,” Wiggins said. “It kept working, so I kept going with it.”
Former Wolves forward Nemaja Bjelica saved one of his best games for his former team. He scored 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting, including 4 of 9 from 3-point range. Bjelica made sure to twist the knife in the fourth quarter, hitting a key 3-pointer to put the Kings up eight with 1:42 to play and stifle a late comeback effort from the Wolves.
“We’ve seen that a lot from him,” Thibodeau said. “He’s a great shooter and so you can’t give him airspace.”