NBA Game Summary - Minnesota at Sacramento
(Monday, December 15th)
Final Score: Sacramento 118, Minnesota 103
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Francisco Garcia scored 21 points, one of eight Kings in double figures, and Sacramento dispatched the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 118-103 rout at ARCO Arena, just hours after the team made a coaching change.
The Kings fired head coach Reggie Theus earlier in the day after a 6-18 start and replaced him on an interim basis with assistant Kenny Natt. Theus was the sixth NBA coach to be fired already this season.
"It feels great. It's been a long day - it's been a very long day," said Natt. "Obviously I had an opportunity to get the guys and discuss what we had to go through today and get them focused on coming out and playing the way that we did to start up the game. That's one of the keys and I'm hoping that we can just continue to play hard."
John Salmons netted 17 and Spencer Hawes 15 while grabbing 10 boards for the Kings.
"He (Kenny Natt) is from the old school and was with (Jerry) Sloan for a while. So what he preaches is more old school type of basketball, which is more of my style," said Salmons. "Everyone knows how much experience he has. So I think that everyone respects what he says. They know all of the big games that he has been through."
Sacramento had lost 10 of 11 games under Theus before the axe fell Monday and the team improved to just 5-9 at home with the win.
Al Jefferson notched 22 points and Rashad McCants added 21 for the T'Wolves, who are reeling themselves having dropped their 10th straight Monday for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
Craig Smith and Kevin Ollie each donated 17 points for Minnesota, which hasn't been as successful since making a coaching change of its own.
Kevin McHale is winless as the bench boss after stepping down from the front office and taking over the coaching duties following the dismissal of Randy Wittman last Monday.
"Starting in the second quarter, it seemed like we couldn't muster any energy," said McHale. "We started missing shots and our energy got zapped. It was the same cycle, especially in the third quarter. They started making some contested shots in the third and that seemed to deflate us. There is no excuse. Everyone plays back-to-backs. We looked like we started hanging our heads and you can't have that."
Minnesota held a 26-20 lead after 12 minutes but the Kings stormed back in the second with a tip-in by Hawes tying the score at 32-32 midway through the quarter and Bobby Brown's three-ball just before halftime giving the hosts a three-point edge, 53-50.
Sacramento turned it on in the third and a 15-4 spurt, capped by a Salmons layup with just under six minutes left gave the Kings a 16-point lead, before finishing the frame up 86-67.
The Kings kept their lead in double figures throughout the fourth and easily made a winner of Natt in his coaching debut.
These two teams had already met twice this season with the T-Wolves defeating the Kings 98-96 in their season opener at the Target Center while Sacramento returned the favor on November 7, beating Minnesota 121-109 at home...The T'Wolves are now 2-11 on the road this season...Minnesota's Kevin Love snagged a game-high 15 boards...Sacramento also got double-figure scoring from Brad Miller (14) and Donte Greene (13) while Jason Thompson, Bobby Jackson and Brown had 10 each.
12/16 02:32:59 ET