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  • Hector Amezcua /

    Hector Amezcua DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts to a double personal foul call against him and Minnesota's Kevin Love. Cousins finished with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals.

  • Hector Amezcua /

    The Timberwolves' Kevin Love powers his way inside against the Kings' Tyreke Evans for two of his 23 points.

Kings stumble late in loss to Timberwolves

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 - 12:09 am

There are plenty of figures of speech about what pressure does to and for an individual.

Lately for the Kings, pressure has been when their inability to execute has been exposed most.

That was the case again Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena, where the Kings lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-89.

The T-wolves have been hit by injuries to their backcourt lately and had lost five in a row.

The Kings trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but rallied within three, 90-87, with 2:54 to play.

But on their next five possessions, the Kings had three missed shots by DeMarcus Cousins, a turnover by Isaiah Thomas and two free throws from Cousins.

In Friday's loss at Utah, coach Keith Smart lamented the shot selection by the Kings as they blew a lead. Tuesday, he wasn't pleased by some quick shots in the fourth quarter along with some missed defensive assignments.

"(Late in games) it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes," Smart said. "It's the two-minute drill. How many mistakes will you make in the two-minute drill? When you make a lot of mistakes in the two-minute, three-minute drill, you're not going to be on the side of winning."

Guard Tyreke Evans said having to rally contributed to the Kings' problems. When the Kings have executed well in their last two wins, they led comfortably late. But in a close game, mistakes are magnified.

"The way you play in the first three quarters you can't play in the fourth," said forward-center Chuck Hayes. "It's a different ballgame in the fourth, especially if it's a close game."

The Kings (4-10) appear to be learning that the hard way. And no one has an answer as to why.

"Honestly if we knew that, I don't believe we would keep doing it," Cousins said. "I don't know."

The Kings also didn't know how to stop Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love.

In his fourth game back from a broken right hand, Love dominated the glass. He had the NBA's first 20-20 game of the season with 23 points and 24 rebounds. The rebounds were the most by a player this season. The previous high was 23 by Cleveland's Anderson Varejao on Oct. 30 against Washington.

Love also set a career high for defensive rebounds with 21. His previous high was 19, which he did three times last season. It also was the 16th 20-20 game of his career.

Love outrebounded the Kings' starting lineup by four. Minnesota (6-7) finished with a 51-36 rebounding advantage.

Love had been playing with a glove on his right hand that he found "restricting." Without it, he had his best shooting game since his return, making 8 of 17.

"It wasn't about me," Love said. "It was about the team getting a win. We needed to get off the slump we were on."

The Kings are 2-2 in their last four games after a five-game losing streak.

They had to manage without Cousins for nine minutes in the third quarter when he picked up two quick fouls. His fourth foul was a double foul in which he was called for a charge and Love for a block on the same play.

Smart didn't want to comment on the play. Neither did Cousins.

"I'm not even talking about that," Cousins said. "I have nothing to say."

Cousins and Evans each had 20 points to lead the Kings.

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