Timberwolves-Kings Preview

Nobody is playing at a faster pace than the Sacramento Kings, who are finally seeing some positive results.

No team is getting more from players age 20 and younger than the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are also showing improvement.

The Kings may be without DeMarcus Cousins on Friday night when they try to stretch their home win streak to four, while the Timberwolves are in search of their first three-game overall run.

Sacramento (6-10) averages an NBA-best 102.8 possessions per 48 minutes and likes to get the ball to Cousins, who is helping the club average a league-leading 48.4 points in the paint.

Cousins, who is putting up team highs of 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, sat out Wednesday's 129-118 victory at Milwaukee with a strained lower back. The Kings had lost all five previous games that Cousins missed.

Without him, Sacramento capped a 2-3 trip by shooting 57.1 percent for its best mark in two seasons to bounce back from Monday's 127-122 overtime loss to Charlotte.

"We had a pretty damn good trip," coach George Karl said. "We lost three games but in all three games, we were in the game and could have played better in certain situations. I just thought the last two games we played some of the best basketball of the year."

Rudy Gay has totaled 64 points in the last two for the Kings, who are seeking their first four-game home win streak since Dec. 19-30, 2012.

"You go out there and desperately need a win so I had to do whatever I could to get it," Gay said after scoring a season-high 36 on Wednesday.

Minnesota (7-8) can win three straight for the first time since Feb. 4-8. The Timberwolves knocked off Atlanta 99-95 at home Wednesday to sweep the season series.

Andrew Wiggins averages 21.8 points, rookie Karl-Anthony Towns 14.7 and Zach LaVine 14.1 for Minnesota, which is getting an average of 49.1 points from players 20 or younger. No other team is getting more than 24.4 game from players that young.

"Every game we're getting better, we're growing, the chemistry is getting better each day so it's great," Wiggins said.

Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio is questionable after he left Wednesday's game when he re-injured the ankle he had surgery on in the offseason.

"You start wondering why, putting in all the work I've been putting in," Rubio said. "But some things you can't control. I don't want to be worried. I just want to work hard and be ready for the next game."

Rubio averages 8.5 assists to rank third in the NBA and would match up with Rajon Rondo, who averages a league-best 10.9. Rondo, averaging a league-high 79.4 passes, is averaging 14.0 assists in his last 10 games with 33 in the last two.

The Timberwolves' 5-2 road record is second in the league to Golden State's 7-0 mark.

Sacramento won all three meetings last season. Gay averaged 22.7 points on 51.2 percent shooting with a 33-point effort in a 116-111 home win April 7 that Cousins missed.


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