MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Sacramento Kings were still smarting from a humbling beat down the previous game when they walked into Target Center to face the Timberwolves in a matchup of the two worst teams in the West.
They responded with an emphatic performance, handing the Wolves a defeat that could linger in Minnesota for quite a while, too.
Samuel Dalembert had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton added 23 points, nine assists and eight boards to lead the Kings to a 127-95 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday.
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins was ejected in the third quarter after shoving Martell Webster, but the Kings went on a 21-0 run without him. The Kings picked up their 17th win of the season, tying them with the Wolves for fewest in the West.
“We had our worst game of the year last game and our guys responded extremely well tonight,” coach Paul Westphal said, referring to a 22-point loss at home to Philadelphia on Friday. “I was happy for the effort.”
There was no such effort from the Wolves in the second-biggest home loss in franchise history.
Luke Ridnour scored 22 points for the Wolves, who played most of the game without All-Star Kevin Love. He left in the second quarter with an injured left groin and finished with three rebounds and no points in 14 minutes.
Michael Beasley scored 13 points, but played just 14 minutes while still dealing with a sore left hip from a flagrant foul committed by the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on Friday.
Listless throughout, the Wolves were outrebounded 47-27, turned the ball over 25 times and allowed the Kings to shoot 56 percent, one game after taking the Lakers to the wire in Los Angeles.
“As part of being professionals, you have to learn how to play every game the same,” Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said. “Unfortunately we don’t. A lot of guys on this team don’t bring it every night. It’s something that we all have to work on.”
The Kings were short-handed as well. They have played the last 17 games without point guard Tyreke Evans, who has been out with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. And Cousins, who was averaging 18.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in his previous nine games, was given an early exit after losing his cool yet again.
Cousins got into a confrontation in the third quarter after getting tangled with Ridnour while setting a screen. Ridnour took exception and shoved Cousins, who pushed back.
Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic stepped in and pushed Cousins out of the way. When Webster got near the area, Cousins shoved him as well, and referee Bob Delaney tossed Cousins from the game. He finished with three points and one rebound.
Ridnour received a technical foul as well.
“I don’t really understand what happened,” Cousins said. “I got pushed and I pushed back. I shouldn’t have reacted that way. … I was just setting a screen. I don’t know.”
It’s the second time Cousins has been ejected in a rookie season that has seen several discipline issues. He was fined by the team and missed a game in February after fighting with a teammate and also has gotten into a few verbal altercations with coaches and teammates.
The Kings didn’t need him to snap a five-game road losing streak, thanks to 33 points scored off of turnovers and a 42-20 fourth quarter.
After Beasley’s free throw trimmed the deficit to 81-75 with 48 seconds to go in the third, the Kings made their move.
Donte Greene scored seven points during the surge and the Wolves turned it over four times. Beno Udrih capped it with a jumper that gave them a 102-75 lead. Minnesota didn’t get on the board in the fourth until just under seven minutes remained.
“It was kind of looked like it was going downhill when I got ejected,” Cousins said. “It ended up they did a great job in the fourth quarter.”
Beasley appeared agitated and distracted from the outset. He thought he was fouled on a drive to the basket in the opening minutes but didn’t get a call and proceeded to complain loudly to assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff as he headed back down the court.
Once there, Beasley was given a technical foul for griping to the officials. He picked up his second personal foul in short order and spent all but five minutes of the first half on the bench.
“Us as teammates, we have to keep each other accountable,” Tolliver said, speaking in general and not specifically about Beasley. “It’s everybody’s fault because we allow it to happen.”
NOTES: Darko Milicic had 13 points and six rebounds for Minnesota. … Kings backup PG Pooh Jeter scored 13 points and added six assists. … Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor presented Love with a ball honoring his 53-game double-double streak in the first home game since it came to an end. It’s the longest streak since 1973-74.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)