SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Although Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t feel he was really shooting the ball well, Sacramento Kings’ defenders were collectively puzzled about how to cool him off.
As it turns out, the Kings never could.
Beasley scored a career-high 42 points and had nine rebounds to help Minnesota beat the Kings 98-89 to snap a six-game losing streak. Beasley made 17 of 31 shots and hit 7 of 10 free throws and surpassed his previous high of 30 points early in the third quarter.
“I was knocking down shots and being aggressive, but I didn’t feel that hot where I couldn’t miss,” said Beasley, who was averaging 14.7 points entering the game. “It was just one of those nights.”
After two seasons with the Miami Heat, Beasley came to the Timberwolves in an offseason trade. Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis says Beasley is still getting adjusted to Minnesota’s style of play, but it hardly showed against the Kings, who used multiple defenders on the left-handed shooting forward with the sweet perimeter shot.
“His gifts are obviously there, Michael has to figure out where his opportunities are in our system,” Rambis said. “He got it going early and you go through those situations as a scorer when the basket looks so big. He’s a tough matchup with his height, length, size and offensive capabilities. He’s one of those unique players who can score in a myriad of ways.”
Sebastian Telfair scored 16 points and Wesley Johnson had 12 for the Timberwolves, who led for much of the game. Kevin Love, Minnesota’s leading scorer and rebounder, didn’t score until the 7:35 mark in the fourth quarter and finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Omri Casspi had 17 points, Beno Udrih scored 16 points and Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who had 19 turnovers and dropped their third straight game after opening the season with a 3-1 record.
It was a frustrating game for the Kings’ Tyreke Evans. He fouled out with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter and finished with a season-low five points. Evans had nine assists, but also committed five turnovers in 27 minutes.
“I just couldn’t get into a rhythm, it was hard to play with foul trouble and coming out of the game,” Evans said. “They were playing good defense and making me pass the ball.”
Any win is a big victory for the Timberwolves, who entered the game having dropped 36 of their previous 39 games dating back to Feb. 8, 2010. Minnesota had lost its previous six road games this season after winning only five away from home a year ago.
“It was more about getting the win than me scoring 42 points,” Beasley said. “We were moving the ball well, played great defense, and got their best player (Evans) out of the game early.”
Ahead 85-82, Love scored a basket and made the subsequent free throw to put the Timberwolves up by six points with 4:59 remaining. He added another basket and a free throw for a 91-82 Minnesota lead at the 3:51 mark.
“I had a little attitude and had to change things around,” said Love, who had 23 points and a career-high 24 rebounds Tuesday night in a loss to the Lakers. “It was not my most productive game, but I can say I helped the team get a win in the fourth quarter.”
The Timberwolves relied heavily on Beasley in the opening half when he scored 27 points, helping Minnesota to a 51-45 lead. The total was three short of Beasley’s career-high and also three short of a team record for a half, held by several players. The 12 first-half field goals was one less than the Timberwolves record held by Kevin Garnett, who made 13 in a Feb. 7, 2001 game against Sacramento.
“Obviously Michael Beasley was someone we didn’t have any success at all guarding tonight,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “We tried pretty much everything we could try and he had the answer (for them all).”
While Beasley carried the Minnesota offense in the opening half, Evans was surprisingly quiet for the Kings. Last year’s Rookie of the Year missed his only three shots and had two points. However, Evans did have seven assists.
Evans’ first basket was a painful one. He connected on a drive to the basket, but turned his ankle when he fell on a baseline photographer with 5:02 left in the third quarter. But Evans remained in the game.
The Kings tried several defenders on Beasley to no avail in the opening quarter. He continually drained perimeter shots and finished with 18 points, making 8 of 11 shots.
Notes: Luke Ridnour, Minnesota’s starting point guard, missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. … Evans shot an air ball on a free-throw attempt early in the third quarter. … Minnesota assistant coach Reggie Theus was on the first Sacramento Kings team in 1985-86 and was the head coach of the Kings several years ago for parts of two seasons.
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