NEW ORLEANS Kings coach Keith Smart used one word to describe the Minnesota Timberolves without All-Star forward Kevin Love.
"Scary," Smart said.
Love was suspended for two games by the NBA on Monday for stepping on the face and chest of Houston forward Luis Scola on Saturday after Scola had fallen. The suspension begins tonight, when the Kings face the Timberwolves at Target Center.
"Sometimes when star players are out of the game, there is the tendency for other guys to step up because they know they're going to play an extra amount of minutes the entire game," Smart said.
Love is averaging 25.0 points and 13.7 rebounds and has a league-high 22 double doubles this season.
When the Timberwolves beat the visiting Kings 99-86 on Jan. 16, Love had 33 points and 11 rebounds.
"It's great on paper that he's out, but in actuality in the game, it makes it a little bit scarier because you know seven out of 10 possessions they're (normally) going to come to him to start something," Smart said.
With Love missing, Smart expects the Timberwolves will feature forward Michael Beasley more.
Smart said Beasley is no "slouch" and the Kings should know that. Beasley scored a career-high 42 points in a 98-89 Minnesota win over the Kings on Nov. 10, 2010, at Power Balance Pavilion.
"(Beasley is) a wild card, and he's a position terror because he's too quick for the big guys and too strong for the small guys," Smart said. "So his numbers will go up in touches because a guy like Kevin Love is out of the game."
Beasley has played in only 13 games this season, missing 11 because of a right midfoot sprain. Beasley, who is averaging 13.5 points, did not play against the Kings last month.
Jimmer back in After sitting out the previous two games, rookie Jimmer Fredette played nine minutes and scored five points in Monday's win over New Orleans.
Marcus Thornton's return from injury and rookie Isaiah Thomas' strong play off the bench have cut into Fredette's playing time.
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