The NBA is set up with a smaller slate of games on Monday night. Six games will be up on the board throughout January 27. One of these games will be a matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves. These two teams have struggled this season, but they are still within reach of the final wild card spot in the West. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Kings have opened up this season with a record of 16-29, which has them sitting in thirteenth place of the Western Conference. Sacramento is five games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who are sitting in eighth place of the Western Conference. The Kings are coming off a win in their last game, but had lost six in a row before that win.
Minnesota has started this season off with record of 15-31. The Timberwolves have earned the fourteenth seed in the Western Conference. Minnesota is six and a half games back from the final wild card spot, which is possible to reach if they go on a winning streak. The Timberwolves have lost nine in a row coming into this game and will look to end that streak with a win over Sacramento.
These two teams have put up losing records through this season so far, but they are both still within reach of the final wild card spot. If either team can get their team going in the second half of this season, they could very well jump into that playoff spot. I expect both teams to come out fast in this one to try and earn a big win on Monday night.
The Kings and the Timberwolves met up four times throughout last season. The two games of the season series were hosted by Sacramento. Willie Cauley-Stein dropped 25 points in the first matchup to help lead the Kings to a 121-110 win. In the second matchup, Nemanja Bjelica, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic all put up 20+ points to help give Sacramento a 141-130 win.
The second two games of the season series shifted back to Minnesota. In the third game of the season series, nine different players put up ten or more points for the Timberwolves to help Minnesota earn a 132-105 win. Karl-Anthony Towns put up 34 points and 21 rebounds in the final game of the season series to give the Timberwolves a 112-105 win.
The first game of this seasons series was hosted by the Kings on December 26. Richaun Holmes earned 20 points and 18 rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic put up another 19 points off the bench, but it was not enough. Gorgui Deng finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Robert Covington earned 19 points, while Andrew Wiggins had 18 points as Minnesota won 105-104 in double overtime.
These two teams split the season series last season as both teams missed out on the playoffs and they are on the same track this season. Minnesota was able to upset the Kings in the first game of this season series on the road. The Timberwolves will host this game and look to win their fourth game in a row against Sacramento.
Field Goal Shooting
Sacramento has been on the lower end of the NBA when it comes to field goal shooting this season. The Kings have made 45.4 percent of their shots from the field. Sacramento is shooting 35.2 percent from behind the arc. The Kings have been able to make 51.8 percent of their shots from inside the arc, which is eighteenth in the NBA.
The Timberwolves have put up the fourth worst field goal percentage in the league this season. Minnesota has only been able to make around 43.4 percent of their shots this season. The Timberwolves have made 32.4 percent of their shots from deep, which is second worst in the NBA. Minnesota has also made 51.7 percent of their shots inside the arc.
These two teams have not been consistent shooters throughout this season, but both defenses have struggled as well. If either team can get in a rhythm early, it could give them a huge advantage. Both teams have a solid three point defense, but struggle inside the arc, so if they big men can start strong on Monday night, it could help lead to a big win.
Buddy Hield has helped lead the Kings this season. He has averaged 20 points per game. De’Aaron Fox is averaging 19 points per game. Harrison Barnes has averaged 15 points per game, while Bogdan Bogdanovic is averaging 14.5 points per game. Marvin Bagley is averaging 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Nemanja Bjelica is averaging 12.5 points per game to help round out the lineup.
Karl-Anthony Towns has continued to help lead the Timberwolves throughout this season. Towns has averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds per game. Andrew Wiggins is averaging 22.5 points per game. Jeff Teague has averaged 13 points per game, while Robert Covington is averaging 12.5 points and 6 rebounds per game.
The Kings could be missing Marvin Bagley again in this matchup, which would hurt them a lot. Like I said previously, I expect big men to play a big role in this game and if Bagley is missing, it could lead to a big game for Towns. Towns and Wiggins have had a good game this season and if they can have a big night on Monday night, I think that the Timberwolves will take this one.
Minnesota was able to take the first game of the season series in double overtime and with this game shifting back home for them, I like the Timberwolves to end their losing streak. If the Kings are without Marvin Bagley for this game, I think that Minnesota will be able to dominate in the paint, which I believe will be the deciding factor in this game.
BetOnline has the Timberwolves listed as a -3 against the spread in this game. Minnesota is at home in this game against a team struggling similarly to them, which makes this spread make sense to me. The first game was decided by one point, but if this one is close late and the Timberwolves are up, they could cover the spread with free throws.