SACRAMENTO — Cowbells ringing. Slamson the Lion. Fans booing the officials.
For the first time this season, it felt like Kings basketball at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night.
Playing the Minnesota Timberwolves for the second straight night on their home court, the effort was better from Sacramento, which led to a different outcome.
In another up-and-down affair, the T-Wolves pulled away early in the fourth, but the Kings didn’t go away. Riding the cheers of the fans, Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes hit huge shots, De’Aaron Fox made his free throws and Damian Jones came up with a tremendous defensive stop late to help the Kings escape with a 128-125 win.
Second year big man Naz Reid bullied the Kings in the post, finishing with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 points and four other Timberwolves scored in double-figures.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings picked up a win to move to 24-35 on the season.
Bad night, good night
When Buddy Hield has a bad night, he gets called out. But when he shows up big, he also earns some praise.
After a sub-par performance on Tuesday night, Hield looked like a different player in the rematch against the Timberwolves. Not only was he aggressive on both ends of the court, but he looked locked in and focused.
Hield knocked down his first five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers on his way to a 21-point first half. He didn’t have the same impact after the intermission, but he still managed to post 29 points, five assists, six rebounds and a block. He also came up big late in the game.
Shake it off
De’Aaron Fox looked a step slow in the loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday and after the game head coach Luke Walton admitted that the Kings’ star point guard was dealing with an ankle issue.
On the second night of a back-to-back, Fox magically healed up, put up big numbers and played big minutes.
Fox notched his 18th 30-point night of the season, finishing with 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. He took some pretty hard shots from the Timberwolves while attacking the rim, but he was solid at the line, finishing 13-for-14 from the stripe in the win.
Finding his game
Rookie Tyrese Haliburton has faded in the month of April, but he’s slowly starting to look like the player that was a Rookie of the Year candidate throughout the first half of the season.
In the Kings’ loss on Tuesday, Haliburton set up his teammates, but struggled with his shot. In the second go around against Minny, Haliburton looked confident.
The 21-year-old guard has the clutch gene, which he showed off in the fourth quarter. He finished with 16 points on 4-of-6 from long range and added six assists.