Miracle In Minnesota: Kings Pull Off Comeback For The Ages
Trailing by nine points with 39 seconds left, Sacramento did the impossible: Win.
The past 36 hours have been arguably the most devastating hours in NBA history.
Many teams around the league have struggled with the tragic passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter accident along with his 13 year-old daughter and seven other victims who were on their way to a basketball tournament in the Los Angeles area.
Sacramento and Minnesota both honored Bryant by taking a 24-second violation and eight-second violation on their first possessions of the game to honor the man who wore numbers 8 and 24 over an illustrious career.
Once the game started, it was all Minnesota.
The Timberwolves took a 68-50 lead into the half, taking advantage of a sluggish Kings defense. Sacramento, who finished a lengthy five-game road trip on Monday, look as if they were ready to hop on a plane back to California before the second half even started.
Minnesota wouldn’t let up, taking a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter as they looked to snap an eight-game losing streak. Led by 36 points from former number-one pick Andrew Wiggins, the T-Wolves held a commanding 108-86 lead with just under six minutes remaining.
What happened next, is nearly unexplainable.
The Kings would go on a run, thanks to a career-night from Buddy Hield. Hield would go on to drain five three-point shots over the final four minutes, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter in all.
Somehow, Sacramento cut the Wolves lead to 119-110 with under 40-seconds left, a deficit that still didn’t look good for the Kings.
Hield would cut the Minnesota lead to 119-116 with 30 seconds left after draining another long-ball. With 30 seconds remaining, Wiggins used almost all of the remaining game clock before missing a mid-range jumper with six-seconds left. De’Aaron Fox grabbed the rebound and drew a foul, going to the line for two free-throws, down by three with 4.7 seconds left.
Once again, what happened next, is nearly unexplainable.
After draining the first free-throw, Fox intentionally missed the second free-throw attempt, tossing a perfect pass off of the front of the rim to himself for a lay-in to tie things up at 119-119 with 3.6 seconds remaining.
It was almost as if you could hear the entire city of Minneapolis gasp.
The Timberwolves, who had the game all but put away with a 20-point lead late in the fourth, let Sacramento back in the game. Minnesota would miss a last chance attempt to win in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
In a back-and-forth affair, overtime came down to the last 48 seconds.
Nemanja Bjelcia sank two free-throws to give the Kings a 131-129 lead with 48.3 seconds remaining. Josh Okogie missed two free-throws for the Wolves, all but sealing the win for Sacramento as De’Aaron Fox and Kent Bazemore would put things away with a free-throw a piece to push the lead to 133-129 with 3.6 seconds left, the eventual final score in a game for the ages.
Buddy Hield had a new career-high with 42 points on 9-of-14 from the three-point line. Hield has thrived in his new role as a volume bench scorer, putting forth another efficient night in his second appearance off of the bench this season.
Fox scored 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists, while Bjelica would finish with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
With all that has happened in the past day and a half, the NBA needed this kind of game. A game that featured the near impossible, a game that went down to the wire with excitement and passion. Sacramento pulled off a comeback that will be talked about for years to come, and it comes on the performance of Buddy Hield, who wears number 24 to honor Kobe Bryant.
It was only fitting that he would finish with a score total mirroring that famous 24.
Sacramento will finally return home this Wednesday night when they face Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Catch all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage starting at 6:30pm with tip-off following at 7:00pm.