Timberwolves-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 26, 2012
Basketball-sacramento
While Tyreke Evans' resurgence has lifted the Sacramento Kings, the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to reap the full benefit of Kevin Love's return to the lineup. The Kings hope to get another standout performance from their star guard Tuesday night as they seek a third win in four games and try to deal the Timberwolves a sixth consecutive defeat. Evans has averaged 21.3 points and 52.5 percent shooting in the last four contests for Sacramento (4-9), which had dropped five in a row before taking two of three. He scored a season-high 27 points in a 108-97 victory over Utah on Saturday. Evans averaged 11.6 points and 38.8 percent from the field in his first nine contests. "If I miss one shot, I'm (still) trusting my shot. I've been coming here after the games and before games just to get extra shots up and it's working for me," he said. With Evans' help, the Kings have topped 100 points and shot at least 50.0 percent in the past three games after averaging 91.2 points and 41.8 percent in their first 10. "I think this team is always growing and learning," coach Keith Smart said. "I think it's going to be a process for us. We've shown we can compete and play with everyone. Now, our offense is catching up." The Kings might have a chance to keep rolling against the Timberwolves, who have struggled to contain opponents lately. Minnesota (5-7) has allowing an average of 101.5 points in its last four games after giving up 88.5 in its first eight. The Timberwolves allowed Golden State to outscore them 26-11 in the fourth quarter of a 96-85 defeat Saturday, including a 19-2 run. They were also outrebounded 48-39 with Love the only Minnesota player pulling down more than six boards. Love totaled 15 rebounds but also scored a season-low 15 points and shot 6 of 20 while struggling with a protective pad on his injured right hand. The All-Star forward scored a combined 58 points in his first two games back. "(The pad is) very restricting," Love said. "I can't bend my hand all the way back and I couldn't get a good feel for the basketball. The doctor said it was OK to play but at the same time he warned that I'm coming back two weeks early and I have to keep working on my conditioning, my range of motion and shooting." The Timberwolves didn't need Love's help in a season-opening 92-80 win over the Kings on Nov. 2, but injuries and Evans' recent play could result in a different outcome this time. Minnesota is without Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy and Ricky Rubio. J.J. Barea, who scored a team-best 21 points against the Kings, has totaled 24 points and shot 32.0 percent in his three games since returning from a sprained left foot. The Timberwolves have lost six of seven on the road to Sacramento. Evans had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 116-108 victory April 2 after missing a 115-99 win March 18 due to a sprained ankle.
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