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(Saturday, March 1st)
Final Score: Minnesota 108, Sacramento 97
Sacramento, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves got a much- needed lift from two starters that have been absent over the past few weeks.
Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic each returned to the lineup on Saturday to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 108-97 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Martin led the Timberwolves with 26 points and Pekovic contributed 20 points and nine rebounds in the win, Minnesota's fifth in its last six games.
Pekovic missed the most time of the two, sitting out the last 13 games with an injured ankle. Martin was held out of the last seven games with a broken left thumb.
Kevin Love registered a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double despite shooting 4- of-12 from the field in the victory.
"Right now we're fighting, we're fighting," said Corey Brewer. "We need to win every game basically to have a chance to get into the playoffs and right now we're winning."
Rudy Gay paced Sacramento with 24 points and DeMarcus Cousins had a monster outing, scoring 21 points to go along with 17 rebounds in the setback.
Isaiah Thomas tallied 22 points with eight assists in the Kings' third straight defeat.
The Timberwolves led by double digits for most of the fourth until Sacramento made a comeback attempt.
Thomas scored six points during a 12-4 run that began with a Cousins jumper with just over five minutes left. Thomas scored the final four points of the spurt that cut the deficit to 97-95 with 2:09 remaining.
Pekovic followed with a pair of free throws before Ricky Rubio hit a dagger 3- pointer with 53.4 ticks to play to push the spread back to seven.
Thomas missed a 3 on the ensuing Kings possession and Martin corralled the rebound before knocking down a pair of free throws to secure the win.
The Timberwolves scored 27 points off of 19 Sacramento turnovers.
"For whatever reason, we continued to beat ourselves," said Kings coach Michael Malone. "You know 19 turnovers, 27 points. Good teams don't beat themselves. It's very hard, in the same game, to beat your opponent and yourself and we did that tonight."
Earlier, Minnesota trailed 31-30 at the end of one quarter and was down 56-53 at halftime. The Timberwolves, however, came storming out of the gate to begin the second half, scoring the first nine points of the third quarter to take a 62-56 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Pekovic split a pair at the line that would begin a string of 11 straight for Minnesota that Love capped with a 3 to stake the visitors to a 77-62 advantage.
Sacramento couldn't trim the deficit to single digits and trailed 84-70 heading to the fourth.
Sacramento shot 37-of-82 from the field, while Minnesota shot 37-for-81 ... Brewer netted 13 points in the win ... Minnesota had a 44-30 edge in the paint ... Ray McCallum scored a career-high nine points and added a career high- tying five assists for Sacramento.
03/02 01:50:52 ET
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