The Sacramento Kings are still trying to figure out how to complement their prolific scoring by improving their defense.
The Kings lost their third in a row on Saturday night when they failed to slow down the Milwaukee Bucks during a 129-128 loss even without two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Sacramento will try to snap its skid and work on this issue when it travels to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Monday night.
The Kings face the Wolves in the first of three meetings between the teams this month.
Both teams are coming off losses against Eastern Conference powers as Minnesota dropped its second consecutive game on Saturday at Philadelphia. The Wolves have lost seven of their past nine games.
Sacramento is giving up 118.7 points per game despite having one of the more prolific offenses in the league (114.8 points per game).
“We can’t stop people,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “How we play offense, we want to play defense the same way. As of right now, it’s anything but that. For the most part it feels like take what you want from us on that end.”
De’Aaron Fox and Terence Davis led the way for Sacramento with 27 points each on Saturday, while Buddy Hield added 19. Davis’ tally off the bench was a season high.
But the Kings failed to make it a one-possession game down the stretch as Jrue Holiday held them off with 33 points of his own and a game-clinching layup with a minute left that put the Bucks ahead by five.
“We really have to understand that, and we should get this by now, it takes as close to 48 minutes of hard competing, high intensity to win games,” Walton said. “In these last three games we’re only finding that for parts of that. Some teams can do that. We’re not one of them.”
Despite Minnesota’s dismal season, Karl-Anthony Towns continues to look unstoppable. Towns finished with 39 points, 14 rebounds and five assists against the Sixers and is averaging 25 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the 26 games since his return on Feb. 10.
“‘KAT’ plays with an offensive physicality,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “He competed defensively. … He’s laying it out there for us right now, for me. Very grateful for that.”
Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards finished with 27 points on Saturday on 10-of-23 shooting as he continued an impressive rookie season in which he is averaging 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 50 games. Jaden McDaniels also had 14 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks against Philadelphia.
Towns and Edwards played 44 and 41 minutes respectively.
–Field Level Media