SACRAMENTO -- Back to the grind. After dropping their third straight game on Saturday, the Sacramento Kings look to get back on track against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings were within a point with 12 seconds remaining against the Lakers, but couldn’t close out the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield score 21 points each to lead Sacramento and Willie Cauley-Stein added an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double in defeat.
Minnesota currently sits in fourth place in the Western Conference playoff race, but they’ll be without All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler for the foreseeable future after he injured the meniscus in his right knee last week.
Timberwolves by 5.5
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 18-40 fourth in the Pacific
T-Wolves: 37-26 first in the Northwest
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Karl-Anthony Towns -- These two know each other well from their time together at Kentucky. Towns has gotten the better of Cauley-Stein in their two matchups this season, averaging 29.5 points, 11 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 35.8 minutes per game. Cauley-Stein posted just 9.5 points and five rebounds against Towns. If this trend plays out again, the Kings are in for a long night.
Kings: SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
T-Wolves: SG Jimmy Butler (knee) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
No Jimmy -- Butler is one of the best two-way players in the game. At 6-foot-8, 235-pounds, he is a matchup problem for any team. With him out, the T-Wolves will likely slide Andrew Wiggins to the shooting guard spot and start Nemanja Bjelica at the wing, giving Minnesota even more size on the wing.
Young Guns -- Bogdanovic and Hield put on a show against the Lakers. In addition to hitting 9-of-17 from behind the arc, the duo combined for 14 rebounds and five assists. If these two can continue to stuff the stat sheet, the Kings might have to find more minutes at the wing spot.
Show Growth -- Cauley-Stein, Bogdanovic, Hield and De’Aaron Fox are all showing major signs of improvement since the turn of the new year. Skal Labissiere has joined the party, turning heads in his first two games back from injury. The Kings need to see this type of improvement over the final 23 games of the season.
The Timberwolves lead the seasons series 2-0 this year, including a 111-106 win at the Target Center on Feb. 11. Minnesota holds a slight lead in the all-time series 56-53.