Every team in the league has to play back-to-backs, and every team has an occasional stretch of three games in four nights. This is nothing new in the NBA.
After playing in at home against the Warriors on Friday, and then traveling to play the Mavericks in Dallas Sunday evening, the Kings faced a well-rested Minnesota Timberwolves team on Monday.
The Kings looked flat and tired, and they gave in early. The T-Wolves took them to task at the Target Center, coming away with a 132-105 blowout victory.
Here are three takeaways as Sacramento failed to show up in Minnesota and dropped to 16-14 on the season.
With his team listless to start the game, Dave Joerger threw up the white flag in the first quarter. Forward Nemanja Bjelica played five minutes, point guard De’Aaron Fox played six and big man Willie Cauley-Stein played seven.
Joerger started the second half with a lineup of Yogi Ferrell, Justin Jackson, Troy Williams, Skal Labissiere and Kosta Koufos. The group rallied, cutting the Timberwolves lead to just 12 with a 21-1 run. But, Minnesota quickly recovered and put the game away in the third quarter.
For a team with playoff aspirations, there are no throw-away games.
Before every game, Labissiere can be seen on the court working on his craft as early as three hours before tip. He’s improved as a shooter, worked on his body and waited for an opportunity.
Completely lost in a crowded front line, Labissiere has been inactive more than he has been in uniform. Against the Timberwolves, the former Kentucky product had his number called for just the seventh time this season, responding with nine points, five rebounds and a block in 29 minutes.
At 22 years old, there is still time for the Haitian-born 7-footer to prove he is an NBA player, but it might have to come in a different uniform.
There seems to be a debate on exactly how old Buddy Hield is, but it is not really a question about what he means to the Kings.
One of the lone bright spots on the night, Hield dropped in 16 the Kings’ first 17 points in the first quarter. He finished with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting in just 18 minutes of action.