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Andy King / AP

Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, left, defends Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the fourth quarter of a game in Minneapolis Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Minnesota won 86-84

Pregame notes: Cousins vs. Pekovic is a duel to watch

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - 4:50 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - 9:57 pm

DeMarcus Cousins will encounter one of the few players that might relish the physical challenge of dealing with him in Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic tonight.

Kings coach Michael Malone was asked before the game if Pekovic (6-11, 285) might be one of the few players that can match strength with Cousins (6-11, 270).

“Not might, he does,” Malone said. “I would take the might out of it. Pekovic looks like the guy from the Superman movie. He’s big, he’s strong and to his credit he’s just not a physical player, he’s skilled. He’s really improved.”

Pekovic is averaging 18.3 points and 9.2 rebounds this season. Cousins averages 23.5 points and 11.6 rebounds.

“They’re going to go at each other,” said Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. “And Cousins is playing great, having a great year. He’s bringing it every game. Pek’s got to go out there and make him score over the top and not put him on the free throw line. He gets to the free throw line a lot and we have to go at him at the defensive end -- Pek’s been playing well too.”

*Malone said the key to the Kings’ defense tonight is their offense. The Kings cannot commit turnovers or take bad shots that lead to fastbreaks and catch the Kings unprepared to defend.

Ricky Rubio is second in the NBA at 2.65 steals per game and averages 8.2 assists for Minnesota.

Prediction time: If the Kings are going to make the most of this road trip, they need to win a game soon. Tonight would be the ideal time to make that happen.

Kings 116, Timberwolves 108

My record: 20-16

Read more articles by Jason Jones

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