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Kings hand Timberwolves their 10th straight loss

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MINNEAPOLIS — Sacramento guard Darren Collison made two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining, and Minnesota guard Troy Daniels’ 3-point shot at the buzzer came up short as the Kings defeated the Timberwolves 110-107 Thursday at Target Center.

Forward Shabazz Muhammad drained a 3-pointer from the corner with five seconds left to pull Minnesota within one before Collison made two from the charity stripe.

Minnesota inbounded the ball at half court and got Daniels a good look, but his shot missed.

The victory snapped a brief two-game losing skid for the Kings, but was just their third win in their past 12 games.

For Minnesota, the loss was its 10th straight.

The Kings opened the game with an 8-0 run and pushed their lead to double digits less than five minutes in.

The early energy on offense made the Timberwolves chase the rest of the game. Minnesota would tie the game once in the third quarter and once more in the fourth, but could never wrestle a lead away.

“We did some good things in the game tonight,” Kings coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Offensively, we did a great job. We shot 54 percent and scored 110 points. But to get them down after they shot 50 percent in the first half, I thought our defense got better.”

Down five with 5:43 to play in the fourth, rookie guard Andrew Wiggins scored four straight points, including an impressive spinning drive into the lane for a lay-in to make it a 99-98 game.

The Wolves forced a turnover and tied the score for the final time on a free throw by forward Thaddeus Young, but he missed the second free throw, and forward Derrick Williams drilled a three to give Sacramento the lead for good.

“We needed that,” Williams said. “With Rudy and DeMarcus being out, we needed a big win. Obviously with our two best players being out with fouls and that just means other guys on the team gotta step up.”

All five starters finished in double figures for Sacramento, led by Collison and forward Rudy Gay, who each finished with 21 points.

Gay scored seven in-a-row for the Kings before fouling out with 4:20 to play, but also turned the ball over eight times, a career high.

Sacramento got 19 points inside from center DeMarcus Cousins, who was also in early foul trouble. Cousins got his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter then re-entered at the start of the fourth, only to pick up his fifth only 10 seconds in. He fouled out with 2:46 remaining.

“To finish the game without DeMarcus and Rudy on the floor, the guys showed a lot of resolve and really fought to win this game,” Corbin said. “It was good to see.”

Highlight reel dunks by guard Ben McLemore on back-to-back possessions gave the Kings a 12-point lead and a slam by Gay put Sacramento ahead 29-16 with two minutes left in the first.

The Kings shot nearly 78 percent from the floor over the first 12 minutes and led 37-29.

“Defensively, you can’t let a team shoot 70 percent,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. “They shoot 70 percent and we’re down four, I was trying to figure out how that happened. I was surprised we were even in the game.”

Minnesota closed the first half on an 8-2 run, led by rookie guard Andrew Wiggins’ game-high 21 first-half points, to pull within 60-58.

Gay and Cousins were each in double figures; Gay with 14 points and Cousins chipping in with 12 points and four rebounds.

Five straight points by Collison put the Kings’ lead back into double figures, and Sacramento led by as many as 12 midway through the third. But Minnesota closed the quarter with eight straight points to make it a four-point game heading to the final quarter.

“We got some key stops, but at the end of the day, they were just matching our shots,” Daniels said. “(Kings players) were hitting shots from everywhere. If we can narrow that down, we’ll be fine.”

Minnesota pulled back within three points with nine minutes to play, but a three-point play by Gay pushed the Kings’ lead to six and swung momentum.

Wiggins led all scorers with 27 points. He also had nine rebounds.

Muhammad and center Gorgui Dieng each finished with 15 points. Dieng also chipped in with 10 rebounds.

Minnesota’s bench outscored Sacramento’s 35-18, led by Daniels’ 11 points. Jeff Adrien scored a career high 10 points.

NOTES: For the fifth game in a row, Sacramento was without G Ramon Sessions (lower back strain). … Kings F Eric Moreland sat out his third consecutive game due to a shoulder injury. Basketball Insiders reported that Moreland will undergo season-ending surgery Saturday to repair a labral tear. … Sacramento F Omri Casspi (knee) also did not play. … Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic will have an MRI exam on his injured right ankle last week. Pekovic missed all but nine games this season with ankle and wrist injuries.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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