NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at Minnesota
(Wednesday, October 29th)
Final Score: Minnesota 98, Sacramento 96
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Al Jefferson scored 21 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to lead Minnesota over Sacramento, 98-96, in the season-opener for both clubs.
Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye and Kevin Love each chipped in 12 points, with Love adding nine boards for the T-Wolves, who finished 22-60 in 2007-08 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Rashad McCants gave 15 points in the win.
John Salmons had a game-high 24 points and eight assists for the Kings, who went 38-44 in head coach Reggie Theus' first season and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Jason Thompson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Martin picked up 17 points in defeat.
With 26.1 ticks left after both teams drained a basket, it was 97-96 in Minnesota's favor. As the T-Wolves inbounded the ball, Mike Miller was fouled and only hit one from the line.
After a timeout advanced the ball, the Kings inbounded the ball with 25.3 seconds left and worked it around. Martin took the potential go-ahead three- pointer, but his shot caromed out. Sacramento couldn't figure out a way to get in through the rim, and Minnesota held on.
A Quincy Douby jumper and a following bucket gave the Kings a 30-25 lead late in the first quarter. However, McCants' layup sparked an 8-2 Minnesota run that gave the T-Wolves a slight 33-32 advantage after 12 minutes.
The teams traded baskets and the Kings held a one-point advantage with 7:48 left in the half. Love's three-point play then set the tone for nine unanswered Minnesota points that gave the T-Wolves a 48-40 lead about 2 1/2 minutes later.
Sacramento shaved a point off its deficit, 56-49, heading into the half after Thompson's jumper was the final shot of the second quarter.
Martin's three-pointer capped a 9-3 Sacramento run to start the third, which pulled the Kings within one point, 59-58, with 8 1/2 minutes left in the frame.
Five minutes later, a Minnesota run gave the T-Wolves a 74-66 lead but a Beno Udrih jumper set the tone for an 11-2 Kings run that sent the visitors into the final frame ahead 77-76. Salmons hit the final three as time expired in the third.
"We got the win," Gomes said. "We were up in the third quarter and let them get back in it. Martin made some good plays."
The see-sawing lead had the T-Wolves up by only one with 6:58 left in the game after a Salmons make, but a pair of free throws from Craig Smith nudged Minnesota towards a 10-2 run that made it 95-86 with about 3:40 left.
However, a Salmons pull-up jumper spurred an 8-0 run which got the Kings within a point with 1:42 to go but the momentum wasn't sustained.
"We had problems in the first half, we didn't play well," Salmons said. "In the second half we did a much better job."
Minnesota's Sebastian Telfair, who was suspended three games for a gun incident, did not play. Telfair is expected to return November 5 against the San Antonio Spurs...Minnesota's Love was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in a draft day trade after being taken fifth overall...Minnesota won two of three meetings against Sacramento last year. The Kings have lost four of their last five games at the Target Center.
10/29 23:55:13 ET