Sacramento is coming off a 129-107 road win against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Kings.
Tyrese Haliburton (17 points, 10 assists) and Chimezie Metu (16 points, 10 rebounds) each posted double-doubles in the win. Buddy Hield scored 22 points off the bench while shooting 8 of 14 overall and 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Kings head coach Luke Walton praised his team in general and Metu specifically after he registered his first career double-double.
“He’s one of those guys who’s been gaining the trust of his teammates and coaching staff by how he works every day in practice,” Walton said. “We know rebounding’s been an issue for us, and Chimeze’s a fantastic athlete. He’s got good size on him, he plays with an edge, he’s tough.”
Metu is averaging 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in five games (two starts). The 24-year-old was the San Antonio Spurs’ second-round pick (No. 49 overall) out of USC in 2018.
The Kings hope Metu can provide size and strength at power forward.
“He’s definitely helped us,” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said. “We know what he can do and his work ethic. He brings a lot. He brings versatility to us, he’s a big guy that can move his feet offensively and defensively, crash the glass, block shots, shoot the ball, so it’s definitely a help for us and it’s great for us seeing him play with confidence.”
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are looking for confidence after squandering another fourth-quarter lead. They are coming off a 99-96 loss against the Phoenix Suns, which marked their ninth defeat in 13 games to start the season.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 35 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, but it was not enough for Minnesota. D’Angelo Russell added 22 points, but his 3-point attempt in the final minute went off the back rim. The shot would have given the Timberwolves the lead.
Another player looking to improve against the Kings is Timberwolves second-year guard Anthony Edwards, who missed 9 of 11 shots on Monday.
Instead of focusing on an inconsistent offense, Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch praised his team’s hard-fought defense.
“I thought defensively we were really good for the most part,” Finch said. “We talked about getting better at the point of attack, and I thought we did an excellent job of coming out and contesting shots.”
Towns also stayed positive despite the narrow defeat.
“I’m proud of us,” he said. “I thought we played a really tough game. We did a lot of great things. … If we play a lot of games the way we played (Monday), regardless of the shooting, we’re winning a lot of those games.”
Minnesota is 2-6 at home this season. Sacramento is 4-4 on the road.
–Field Level Media