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Jaden McDaniels’ Bold Performance Grabs Kings’ Attention Despite Loss


The Kings’ speed proved too much for the Timberwolves on Friday, but Jaden McDaniels didn’t seem worried after the game.

Looking to build their winning streak to four games, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a tough task in front of them on Friday night. With the Sacramento Kings in town, the Wolves faced off with one of their most fascinating matchups.

Despite De’Aaron Fox being out for Sacramento, the Kings still ran wild to start the game, jumping out to an impressive 15-2 lead. Luckily, Jaden McDaniels stepped up big time for the Wolves and nearly played hero on Friday. The defensive-minded wing went off for a career-high 26 points on absurd efficiency. Drilling seemingly every shot he took, McDaniels kept the Wolves within striking distance despite Anthony Edwards leaving for personal reasons early in the second half.

Despite McDaniels’ efforts, Minnesota just couldn’t handle Malik Monk and Domantas Sabonis. The Kings’ sixth man tallied an incredible 39 points, including a pair of huge threes in overtime. Sabonis impacted the game in all facets by pouring in 21 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

Despite a 124-120 loss for the Timberwolves, McDaniels still sent a strong, pointed message to Sacramento in the postgame locker room.

Jaden McDaniels shares his confidence

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) shoots against the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter at Target Center
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

This home loss for Minnesota marked the second time the Kings came into Target Center and took down the Timberwolves. When asked postgame if there are difficulties Sacramento presents as a mismatch for Minnesota, the Timberwolves star defender shut that question down.

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“No, I really… I really don’t worry about them when they come here. I feel pretty confident we could beat them four times in a row if we had to play ‘em. So we just throw this one to the side.”

Coming off a season-best game, McDaniels clearly liked the advantages he had for himself from a matchup perspective. To start the game, the Wolves’ exercised their size advantage by feeding the wing on a planned duck-in against Kevin Huerter. McDaniels scored at the rim with ease and continued his hot scoring from there. On the game, Jaden McDaniels connected on nine of his 11 attempts from the field including an impressive five of seven from deep.

Despite just a 1-2 record on the year in their three matchups, Minnesota seems quite confident in their matchups with the lower-seeded Sacramento Kings. Head Coach Chris Finch and Rudy Gobert both shared a similar belief in positive matchups that benefit the Wolves’ odds against the Kings down the road.

Kings maximize physical advantages

While the Timberwolves tower over everyone with their size, the Kings have unique advantages specifically for a matchup like this. Arguably the strongest player among the two teams is Sabonis. His strength makes him a post-up nightmare and a rebounding machine. The NBA’s triple-double leader flirted with another one on Friday night before fouling out in overtime.

On top of Sabonis’ strength, the Kings are fueled by their quickness. Like lightning in a bottle, Sacramento’s individual speed, even without Fox, is mesmerizing. Monk was a blur off the bounce en route to his game-high scoring outburst. The pace with which Sacramento flows in and out of actions can leave the bigger Timberwolves’ lineup in the dust. Dribble hand-offs specifically stand out as a damaging weapon against the Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert combination. Minnesota’s reluctance to switch the 4-5 DHO left Harrison Barnes open on multiple occasions, including right at the start of the game. The Kings’ leveraged their pace to a 19-point advantage in fast break scoring.

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While McDaniels and the Timberwolves are currently exuding massive confidence for future matchups, Sacramento has had the upper hand thus far. While their are more chess moves to make for both sides, Minnesota has more work to do to find answers to slow down Sacramento’s potent offensive attack.

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About the Author

Sheldon Wohlman is in his first season as a reporter covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for ClutchPoints. Sheldon eats, sleeps and breathes basketball as he coaches, enjoys playing basketball and covers the NBA on YouTube and Twitter.


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