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Kings vs. Timberwolves Preview and Predictions: Battle for Group C

The Kings and Wolves face off in Minnesota for sole possession of 1st place in their In-Season Tournament Group.
By | 11 Comments | Nov 24, 2023

Mar 27, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) dribbles the ball next to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley (10) in the fourth quarter at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! The Kings are back in action tonight in another In-Season Tournament matchup with perhaps Sacramento’s toughest challenge yet: The Western Conference leading Minnesota Timberwolves. That’s right, the Timberwolves are leading the West at 11-3 and it doesn’t look to be a fluke either. Their defense is currently the best in the NBA and Anthony Edwards is an emerging two-way superstar. This is going to be a tough matchup for the Kings without anything extra on the line, but the winner of tonight’s match will in all likelihood advance to the knockout stage of the In-Season Tournament.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Sunday, November 24th, 5:00 PM PST
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

In-Season Tournament West Group C Standings

1. Sacramento Kings 2-0 (+16 Point Differential)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves 2-0 (+10 Point Differential)
3. Golden State Warriors 1-1 (-1 Point Differential)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder 1-2 (+27 Point Differential)
5. San Antonio Spurs 0-3 (-52 Point Differential)

Three in the Key

Paint the town

In both of Sacramento’s two recent losses to the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento was dominated in the paint. New Orleans outscored the Kings 126 to 68 in the paint over the two games and that wasn’t even at full strength. The Kings had no answer for Zion Williamson inside and on the other end had trouble getting anything going themselves. De’Aaron Fox usually lives in the paint but the Pelicans did a good job using their size and length to keep him out and encourage him to shoot outside shots. The Wolves are even better at preventing teams from scoring in the paint, allowing just 43.3 points in the paint a game, 4th best in the league. Rudy Gobert is back to playing like a 3x Defensive Player of the Year and Karl-Anthony Towns is yet another 7 footer to deal with down low. The Wolves will be without defensive stalwart Jaden McDaniels, who likely would have matched up against Fox, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Anthony Edwards take that task on himself as he is a burgeoning defender in his own right. Last year the Kings struggled with Minnesota, going just 1-3, with their sole win coming in Overtime. A big reason for that win was the use of Trey Lyles as a small ball center which pulled Rudy Gobert out of the paint. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Brown try that again tonight with Lyles finally back and off a good debut in which he scored 12 points off the bench.

Ant-Man

Anthony Edwards hasn’t fully taken over the NBA just yet, but it seems like a matter of time. Edwards is getting better and better each year and is averaging career-highs across the board in almost every category. The scariest part is he’s only 22 years old. His combination of shooting and athleticism is rarely seen and he’s coming into his own as an emerging superstar. Last season against the Kings, he averaged 27.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists, shooting 53% from the field and 41.4% from three. He’s even better now and I’m not sure the Kings have a great answer for him, especially if Keegan Murray continues to miss some time with his lower back injury. Edwards isn’t Minnesota’s only weapon (Towns is still a force in his own right), but he’s definitely their most important one. It will take a team effort to slow him down.

Three Points > Two Points

The Wolves have some decent outside shooters, but they don’t like to shoot a ton of them. They rank just 28th in total attempts and 25th in three point attempt rate. The Kings are quite the opposite, sitting at 3rd in the NBA in both. If the Kings can win the battle from the perimeter it will make life a lot easier for them.

Prediction

Lawler’s law is officially instated as an actual rule and the game finishes as Domantas Sabonis makes a free throw to win the game in the 3rd quarter.

Kings 100, Timberwolves 99

Fan Predictions

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Jman1949
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November 24, 2023 9:58 am

With the in-season tourney at stake,
It’s a game that we’d sure love to take.
The T-Wolves have surprised
And their roster’s outsized.
Road woes will be so hard to shake!

Jman1949
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November 24, 2023 10:00 am
Reply to  Jman1949

+1 Beam the Stifle Tower!

comment image&ct=g

UpgradedToQuestionable
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November 24, 2023 2:30 pm

This is confusing – there are 18 types of wolves that are classified at Timberwolves. The wolves found in Minnesota are Grey Wolves. There is Moonlight Grey as one of the official colors of this team.

Let’s see if Trey can make the Timberwolves Grey, all night and all day.

Jman1949
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November 24, 2023 3:01 pm

OT— the L2M report for the Pelicans game came back with mixed results on the Ingram drive to the basket with about 20 seconds left in the game. The screen on Barnes by Zion should have been called as an offensive foul. However, the elbow by Ingram to Domas’ neck and head was ruled as “marginal contact”!

Q400:16.4Foul: OffensiveBrandon IngramDomantas SabonisCNCVideo 

Comment:As Ingram (NOP) removes his left hand from the ball, marginal contact occurs with Sabonis’ (SAC) head/neck area. Contact to an opponent’s head/face can be deemed marginal when the result of a natural basketball move, provided the contact is not disproportionate or uncontrolled.

Jack
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November 24, 2023 3:23 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

The red from Sabonis’s face then was orobably ketchup.

Hobby916
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November 24, 2023 3:29 pm

Went with the T-Wolves this game. They were a problem for the Kings last season and both rosters are fairly similar this season. Edwards and KAT offensively, and McDaniels defensively witll.be a problem.

See how Domas does with Gobert. Domas needs to draw him out with the mid range game, but Domas has been reluctant to shoot that.

Wolves by 10, sadly.

SactownLegendz
November 24, 2023 3:39 pm

Kings win 130-100 to make a statement!

FarmerGuy
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November 24, 2023 4:04 pm

I’m still failing to understand any fan value for this in season tournament. If they didn’t mention it in every chance with the media, we wouldn’t know it existed. Anyone have any understanding on how this derives more value to fans?

Hobby916
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November 24, 2023 5:07 pm
Reply to  FarmerGuy

They think fans will get excited because the players get more money? It’s hoakey to me, trumping up artifical excitement.

FarmerGuy
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November 24, 2023 5:35 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

You’re probably right. Not that I was hopeful but I thought the marketing of this would lead to some level of additional interest. Even tying some of the results to implications later in real playoffs…

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November 24, 2023 4:49 pm

Sunday November 24th?

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