- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A new coach, a new arena and a new attitude. The Sacramento Kings hope these qualities can help transform a losing franchise into a winning one.

DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and Rudy Gay added 28 and the Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103 on Saturday night.

Down as many as 18 points and playing lethargic basketball that was somewhat typical of the past few seasons, the Kings played inspired basketball in the second half when they outscored the Timberwolves 52-38 to win their second game of the season.

“It’s definitely a different attitude this year and a different locker room,” reserve guard Ben McLemore said. “We have older veterans on this team who have been to the playoffs. They have been in a position like we were in tonight. We hung in there and played well when it mattered most.”

One of those veterans is Matt Barnes, who played last season in Memphis under Dave Joerger, now the Kings coach. Barnes had 12 points and nine assists and played tough defense throughout the game.

Following a listless first half, the Kings gained control in the third, running off 17 straight points to take the lead. The suddenly cold Timberwolves shot 3 for 12 in the third when they were outscored 31-12 and trailed 85-77 heading into the fourth.

“Just defense and energy,” said Barnes, explaining the third-quarter turnaround. “You’ve got to be locked in for 48 minutes, you can’t pick and choose when you want to play defense. We got hit in the face (in the first half) and just played bad basketball.”

McLemore had 13 points for the Kings, who won for the first time at new Golden 1 Center. And the Kings hung on to the victory despite losing Cousins, who picked up two fouls in the game’s final minute and fouled out.

Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points for the Timberwolves, who are off to an 0-2 start under new coach Tom Thibodeau. Zach Levine had three 3-pointers and 21 points while Karl Anthony-Towns had 15 points and Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

“The third quarter was a problem. A big problem,” Thibodeau said. “So we got to look at the film to see what the issues were. We’ve got to be tougher.”

A putback by Towns got Minnesota within 105-103. After regaining possession following a jump ball with 7.5 seconds left, Wiggins misfired on a jumper and Barnes corralled the rebound and made one of two free throws to end the game.

Gay put the Kings ahead by two with a jumper and Ty Lawson connected on a corner 3 for a 105-100 lead with 1:10 remaining.


Now in his fourth season, McLemore has suffered through some tough times, seeing his playing time continually decrease due in part to erratic shooting.

After being stripped twice late in Thursday’s game by Kawhi Leonard in a loss to San Antonio, McLemore delivered in the fourth quarter against Minnesota. He made two big 3-pointers and scored nine points in the fourth.

“He was very impressive,” Joerger said. “He had a tough game the other night and it didn’t break him. That’s what pro basketball is - there’s always going to be another night.”


Timberwolves: Last season the Timberwolves beat the Kings in all four games and they were 4-3 in the previous seven games in Sacramento. . Wiggins had 13 points and the Timberwolves shot 67 percent in leading 34-24 after one quarter.

Kings: Cousins picked up his first technical late in the second quarter following his objection to an obvious personal foul. … A Minnesota assistant last season, Bryan Gates is a Kings assistant coach. … San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Erik Armstead was among the sellout crowd.


Timberwolves: Host Memphis on Tuesday in their home opener.

Kings: At Atlanta on Monday for the first of five straight road games.

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