SACRAMENTO -- Yogi Ferrell was the forgotten man in Sacramento. After signing a two-year deal in the offseason to backup De'Aaron Fox, the speedie guard was beat out by Frank Mason during training and relegated to the end of the bench.
Needing to mix things up with his reserves, coach Dave Joerger turned to the 25-year-old Wednesday evening and he found lightning in a bottle.
"Hats off to Yogi Ferrell about being a professional and being ready for an opportunity," Joerger said following the Kings 141-130 victory over the TImberwolves. "We preach that with our young guys - staying ready, staying ready, staying ready."
Over the Kings' last 20 games, Ferrell had played a total of 81 minutes. In the team's win over the Bulls on Monday, he was a healthy scratch. That was the 10th time this season he's received the dread "Did Not Play - Coach's Decision."
"I was a little winded, just a little bit, I'll be honest, but I caught my second breath and it was just fun to being able to play out there, to go up and down," Ferrell said.
The moment he stepped on the court, Ferrell looked like a different player, or maybe just the player he was a season ago for the Dallas Mavericks. He was told before the game he was going to see action and that he was going to get a long look over the next two weeks in the rotation.
"I want to see him, and for him to know that he's going to play for 10 games straight - not have to worry about, ‘if I didn't play well tonight,' - no," Joerger said. "We're going to go in this direction for about 10 games and evaluate is from there."
Ferrell might have been winded, but he played at a breakneck speed the Kings' second unit has been missing. He blew through the Timberwolves defense, found open teammates and knocked down his shots.
"There's always going to be an opportunity, just a matter of how ready you are for it," Ferrell said.
He didn't look rusty at all in his 16 minutes of action, scoring 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the 3-point line. He added six assists, two rebounds and steal while only turning the ball over once.
"It was great for us, we know how he can play and he came out and proved it," Fox said. "He stayed ready. He's always ready. He's always working out, staying in condition, getting shots up and he had a hell of a game for us today."
There was a ripple effect to Ferrell playing. Mason failed to step on the court and with the offense clicking and other options at the wing, Justin Jackson played a total of eight minutes off Joerger's bench.
The combination of Fox and Ferrell at the point seemed to wear down the Timberwolves. With the game on the line, the Kings were the dominant team pushing the tempo.
"He really gave us a spark off the bench, really ran the second unit and just kept the tempo where it was from the beginning of the game," Fox said. "When we play that brand of basketball - they made their runs, that's a veteran team that's going to make runs, they're not going to go away, but I think we answered them pretty well."
Sacramento took a four point lead into the fourth at 96-92. In the final 12 minutes, they outscored the T-Wolves 45-38. While both teams were scoring at will, the Kings were able to hold Minnesota to just 1-of-7 from behind the arc, while hitting 7-of-12 on the other end.
The Kings set a new franchise record overall, knocking down 19 3-pointers on the evening. They dished out 34 assists, while turning the ball over just 11 times as a team.
Plenty of players stood out with their performances, but Ferrell deserves the game ball.