Timberwolves try to snap drought against Kings

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are mired in an 11-game losing streak for the second time this season.

Minnesota looks to halt its latest victory drought when it visits the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

Saturday’s 118-106 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers marked the Timberwolves’ fourth double-digit setback during the skid, which began with a 139-109 loss to the Houston Rockets on Jan. 11.

Veteran forward Robert Covington maintains that the players are trying not to let any negative vibes sink in.

“We’re trying to stay positive,” Covington said after the loss to the Clippers. “It is definitely frustrating. We can’t let that little bit creep in. We still have to go out and play. It’s tough.”

Facing the Kings is a stark reminder that the losing streak could have ended at nine last Monday.

Minnesota led by as many as 27 points and was cruising with a 17-point advantage with under three minutes to play. But Sacramento went on a stunning 21-4 run to close regulation and then outplayed the Timberwolves in overtime for a 133-129 road win.

Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield scored a career-best 42 points that night with 20 coming in the fourth quarter when he went 6 of 6 from the field, including sinking five 3-point attempts.

That performance was Hield’s best in five games since being moved to a reserve role. Bogdan Bogdanovic is now the starter.

Though Sacramento coach Luke Walton said the move wasn’t a demotion, Hield took it as one.

“They don’t start you and after that everybody says, ‘Oh, he’s the problem,'” Hield told The Athletic. “You just let everybody know what the (expletive) is going on. That’s what I’ve been doing and God he knows what I’m doing, I know what I’m capable of doing.

“Nobody was saying that (I was the problem) when we had a 12-14 record, it was, ‘He’s carrying the team,’ stuff like that. When we start losing, it’s a big problem. It is what it is, I’ve just got to stay confident, stay locked in and be ready and professional. That’s what it is, man. If I’m happy or not happy, I’m not going to show it out on the court. I’m going to go out and play my minutes.”

Hield scored 22 points in Saturday night’s 129-113 home loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings gave up 81 first-half points and never were in the game.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox scored a team-high 24 points but was just 7-of-17 shooting and also committed seven turnovers. He had scored a career-high 34 points while recording eight assists two nights earlier during an impressive 124-103 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The win against the Clippers is one of just three in the last 11 games for Sacramento. Four of the defeats have been by 20 or more points.

The game with Minnesota is the second of a four-game homestand that includes matchups with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

While the Timberwolves are struggling, center Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 30 or more points in four of the past five games and is averaging 31.7 over the last six outings.

Towns had 32 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to the Clippers. His best scoring effort during the run was a season-high 40 against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 22.

However, Towns is unhappy he was not chosen to play in the All-Star Game. He is averaging 27.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists but has played in just 31 of 48 games.

“I’m desensitized to being disrespected in this league,” Towns, a two-time All-Star, told reporters. “I’ve been disrespected since I came in, so it’s nothing new.”

Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins recorded 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the recent loss to the Kings. He made a career-high seven 3-point baskets.

–Field Level Media

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