The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost eight of their last 11 games and will try and get back on track Friday night when they visit the Phoenix Suns.
The T'Wolves fell Thursday night in Sacramento, 101-98, to the Kings. Minnesota has dropped nine in a row on the road, including an overtime loss in Phoenix on Feb. 26.
The setback in Sacramento was a painful one as the Wolves had a chance late.
"Too many spurts by them," said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. "We gave them too many easy opportunities, too many penetrations to the basket. It makes the game hard then."
Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio and Dante Cunningham all scored 12 points and J.J. Barea added 11 points off the bench.
Chase Budinger returned after missing months of action following knee surgery. He scored nine points on 3-for-8 shooting while playing 17:30 minutes.
"Thought he did fine," said Adelman. "Hopefully, he'll get through this first game and we'll move on from there. The first half he got tired."
The Suns have lost five of their last six, including a home setback to the Washington Wizards, 88-79, on Wednesday.
"Quite a lackluster effort the first half. I was not happy with none of our young guys," said interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. "And it wasn't about mistakes they made. It was about effort. It was about fight, having a sense of urgency. Unacceptable. This is unacceptable."
Michael Beasley, Jared Dudley and Marcus Morris, all regular rotation guys, played less than nine minutes.
Wesley Johnson and Goran Dragic each had 18 points in the loss. Dragic had 11 assists. Jermaine O'Neal notched 12 points, Luis Scola added 11 and P.J. Tucker chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wizards blew the game open in the second quarter, winning the frame, 34-19. It was after that debacle that Hunter benched players.
The Suns shot 33 percent from the field and 20 percent from long range.
The two teams split their matchups this season with the home team prevailing. Phoenix has won 11 of its last 13 in this series and 11 of its last 13 at home.