Kings

Love is all T-Wolves need to top Kings, 99-86

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Love is all T-Wolves need to top Kings, 99-86

BOX SCORE
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rick Adelman knows his smallish backcourt is going to give up plenty of size and strength on most nights.The Minnesota Timberwolves coach also knows that Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour will never give in either, and their hard-nosed play against the bigger Sacramento Kings made all the difference on Monday night.Kevin Love had 33 points and 11 rebounds and Ridnour added 25 points and nine assists to lead the Timberwolves to a 99-86 victory over the Kings.Tyreke Evans has 2 inches and 40 pounds on Rubio, and Marcus Thornton has 3 inches and 30 pounds on Ridnour, but the bigger Kings were held to 21 points on 7-for-23 shooting.Score one for the little guys."They can keep their guy in front of them," Adelman said. "They pretty much follow what we talk about."Wayne Ellington, another undersized shooting guard, scored 15 points off the bench for Minnesota, a significant contribution for a backcourt that was missing J.J. Barea for the third straight game because of a sprained left ankle.Evans had nine points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and five turnovers and shot just 3 of 11 from the field as the Kings lost for the fifth time in six games.Jason Thompson and Thornton led the Kings with 12 points each. DeMarcus Cousins was hampered by foul trouble yet again, limited to 10 points in 25 minutes."We've got to grow up," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Our team has to grow up fast. ... I've got the simplest offense you can run. You just move it to a spot and move it to the next spot. But for whatever reason we're trying to make the play ourselves with the defense set, looking at the basketball."Evans' strategy was particularly curious given his size advantage. Too often he settled for perimeter jumpers and only rarely took it to the basket to try to get easy buckets."Once we got down, we just tried to take shots we don't usually take," Evans said. "We've got to find a better way to swing the ball a few times and take better shots."Rubio had nine points, eight assists and eight rebounds.Love has scored 97 points over the last three games, with a Jan. 25 deadline to extend his contract getting closer and closer. He is the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1992 to start the season with 13 straight double-doubles and has topped 30 points in three straight games for the first time in his career.Rubio has received most of the attention and headlines this season, and rightfully so. His flashy, no-look passes and dynamic play in the open court have electrified a dormant franchise and put more fans in the seats at Target Center than at any time in recent memory.Through it all, Ridnour has been the understated motor that just keeps plugging along. He got the Wolves off to a good start with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds in the first quarter and even blocked a shot to set a tone as Minnesota took a 28-22 lead.Ridnour has been moved from the point to off guard to make room for Rubio in the starting lineup, and he has blossomed in the role despite being undersized."I just try to make it as hard as I can for them," Ridnour said of defending bigger guards. "Really just on the offensive end, make them work, too. They're not used to guarding little guys."One game after scoring just 60 points and getting blown out by 39 in a loss to Dallas, the Kings could have checked out again in the final game of a five-game road trip. But Sacramento's ailing defense held Minnesota to 14 points in the second quarter, and the bench thoroughly outplayed the Timberwolves' reserves to close the half on a 16-4 run.Ridnour hit two 3-pointers and assisted on Love's dunk in the final 3 minutes to help the Wolves put the game away."He shoots the ball very well," Rubio said of Ridnour. "I never see him missing a jump shot. I don't know (what) his field goal percentage is, but it should be more than 70 percent or something like that all season."The Wolves blew an 18-point lead at Atlanta on Saturday night, so an eight-point advantage to start the fourth quarter was anything but safe. Thompson's dunk cut Minnesota's lead to 72-71 just over 3 minutes into the period.Ellington responded with two 3s, the last giving the Wolves an 82-76 lead that helped them start to pull away.NOTES: Wolves swingman Martell Webster, who has not played this season after having back surgery, was cleared for contact on Monday and will practice on Tuesday. There is still no timetable for his return. C Brad Miller, still recovering from microfracture knee surgery, is returning to practice as well. ... Wolves F Michael Beasley missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right foot. ... NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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AP

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.