Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings
- The Timberwolves won the first meeting between these teams this season, 92-80. However, Minnesota has lost two straight and six of its last seven trips to Sacramento.
- After winning four of their first five games to open the season, the Timberwolves now have just one win in their last seven contests and will be looking to snap their current five-game losing streak.
- Sacramento has won two of its last three games after dropping eight of its first 10 games to open the season. All four of the Kings' wins this season have come at home.
- Since returning to the lineup last Wednesday, Kevin Love is averaging 24.3 points and 14.0 rebounds in his last three games. Love has scored 20+ points in each of his last three games against the Kings.
- Tyreke Evans has scored at least 18 points in each of his last four contests after scoring 18+ just once in his previous nine games.
- The Kings have hit the century mark in each of their last three games after topping 100 points just once in their first 10 games of the season.
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By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- While Tyreke Evans' resurgence has lifted the Sacramento Kings, the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to reap the full benefit of Kevin Love's return to the lineup.
The Kings hope to get another standout performance from their star guard Tuesday night as they seek a third win in four games and try to deal the Timberwolves a sixth consecutive defeat.
Evans has averaged 21.3 points and 52.5 percent shooting in the last four contests for Sacramento (4-9), which had dropped five in a row before taking two of three. He scored a season-high 27 points in a 108-97 victory over Utah on Saturday.
Evans averaged 11.6 points and 38.8 percent from the field in his first nine contests.
"If I miss one shot, I'm (still) trusting my shot. I've been coming here after the games and before games just to get extra shots up and it's working for me," he said.
With Evans' help, the Kings have topped 100 points and shot at least 50.0 percent in the past three games after averaging 91.2 points and 41.8 percent in their first 10.
"I think this team is always growing and learning," coach Keith Smart said. "I think it's going to be a process for us. We've shown we can compete and play with everyone. Now, our offense is catching up."
The Kings might have a chance to keep rolling against the Timberwolves, who have struggled to contain opponents lately. Minnesota (5-7) has allowing an average of 101.5 points in its last four games after giving up 88.5 in its first eight.
The Timberwolves allowed Golden State to outscore them 26-11 in the fourth quarter of a 96-85 defeat Saturday, including a 19-2 run. They were also outrebounded 48-39 with Love the only Minnesota player pulling down more than six boards.
Love totaled 15 rebounds but also scored a season-low 15 points and shot 6 of 20 while struggling with a protective pad on his injured right hand. The All-Star forward scored a combined 58 points in his first two games back.
"(The pad is) very restricting," Love said. "I can't bend my hand all the way back and I couldn't get a good feel for the basketball. The doctor said it was OK to play but at the same time he warned that I'm coming back two weeks early and I have to keep working on my conditioning, my range of motion and shooting."
The Timberwolves didn't need Love's help in a season-opening 92-80 win over the Kings on Nov. 2, but injuries and Evans' recent play could result in a different outcome this time. Minnesota is without Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy and Ricky Rubio.
J.J. Barea, who scored a team-best 21 points against the Kings, has totaled 24 points and shot 32.0 percent in his three games since returning from a sprained left foot.
The Timberwolves have lost six of seven on the road to Sacramento. Evans had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 116-108 victory April 2 after missing a 115-99 win March 18 due to a sprained ankle.
Updated November 26, 2012