MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Wiggins had 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 99-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns fought off foul trouble for 15 points and eight rebounds, and Shabazz Muhammad added 16 points and seven boards for the Timberwolves, who had lost eight of their previous nine games. Minnesota outrebounded Sacramento 49-31 in its fourth home victory of the season.
DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Kings in their first loss in four games. Rajon Rondo had 13 assists and 11 points in his return from a one-game suspension for directing a gay slur at referee Bill Kennedy, who later came out as gay in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
The Timberwolves led by eight at the start of the fourth quarter, but missed nine of their first 10 shots in the final quarter to let the Kings back in it.
Cousins’ follow shot gave them a 90-89 lead with three minutes to go, but Wiggins scored on an acrobatic drive and then knocked down two free throws for a 93-90 lead with 1:20 to play.
Ricky Rubio added 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Wolves.
Rondo was suspended for one game last week after a run-in with Kennedy. It was later revealed that Rondo used a gay slur toward Kennedy, who announced he was gay on Monday. Rondo was criticized for an initial statement that said he did not mean to offend with his remarks and he later issued a stronger apology, saying he was “truly sorry for what I said to Bill.”
It remains unclear if Rondo, who has only used the statements and has not spoken to the media about the incident, knew that Kennedy was gay when he used the slur.
Rondo’s suspension was another distraction in a seemingly endless string of them for the Kings franchise that has endured drama between Cousins and coach George Karl, owner Vivek Ranadive’s revolving door of coaches and executives and watched several free agents turn down bigger offers from the Kings this summer for more stable situations elsewhere.
Rondo heard a few boos from the sparse Target Center crowd when he was introduced, but those subsided fairly quickly.
He had to leave the game for a spell in the first half after getting whacked in the face and returned with a bandage over his right eye.
Kings: Karl flew to Minnesota on a game day to attend the funeral for Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders, who died Oct. 25 from Hodgkins lymphoma. “As a cancer survivor, it’s sad to see someone succumb to it,” Karl said. “I think we’ll feel that (melancholy) all year long.”
Timberwolves: Kevin Martin played after missing the game on Wednesday in New York with a bruised right wrist. He had two points in 15 minutes. ... Coach Sam Mitchell started veteran SF Tayshaun Prince for a second straight game in search of better defense.
Kings: Visit Toronto on Sunday.
Timberwolves: Visit Brooklyn on Sunday.