Torrid Timberwolves out to tame Kings

The Minnesota Timberwolves will go for their fourth win in a row when they tip off against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night in Minneapolis.

The Timberwolves are coming off home-court wins against the Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies over the past week. They have won seven of their past eight games to remain in first place in the competitive Western Conference.

With 42 wins, the Timberwolves already have matched their total from all of last season. Their .712 winning percentage is on track to be the best in the franchise’s 35-year history.

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards is not too concerned if recent wins have included some struggles. That was true on Wednesday as Edwards and his teammates had to overcome an early 14-0 deficit and rally in the second half for the victory.

“I come from winning (23) games my rookie year, so I don’t care how we win,” said Edwards, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020 out of Georgia. “If we win the game, I’m happy. I have nothing bad to say.”

Sacramento hopes to slow Minnesota’s momentum. The Kings are eight games above .500 this season but are coming off back-to-back losses against the Miami Heat at home and the Denver Nuggets on the road.

The Kings have lost four of their last seven games and six of their last 10.

Sacramento coach Mike Brown said his players could benefit from the loss against defending champion Denver. He said his team needed to emphasize getting the ball into the paint to set up high-percentage shots or to free up shooters on the outside.

“Any time you can go against a team like that, you’re going to take something away,” Brown said. “The biggest thing is just the constant pressure that they put on you. …

“One of the things we talk about a lot is paint touches, paint touches, paint touches. We did a good job of that early on, but as the game went (on), we went away from it. We kept trying to tell the guys, hey, keep touching the paint because the sprays will be there.”

De’Aaron Fox leads the Kings with 26.9 points per game, but he is listed as questionable after sitting out against the Nuggets because of a left knee injury. Domantas Sabonis is next on the scoring list with 19.9 points and a team-high 13.2 rebounds per game, and Keegan Murray ranks third with 15.1 points per game.

Edwards is the Timberwolves’ top scorer with 26.6 points per game. Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds, and Rudy Gobert is averaging a double-double with 13.6 points and a team-high 12.6 rebounds.

This is the third and final matchup of the regular season between the teams.

Sacramento pulled away for a 124-111 road win against the Timberwolves on Nov. 24. Fox scored 36 points and dished 12 assists, and Sabonis also registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Minnesota responded with a 110-98 road win against the Kings on Dec. 23. Edwards scored 34 points and distributed 10 assists, and Gobert had 21 points and 17 rebounds.

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