Pistons vs Timberwolves Game Preview - Mar. 2, 2011
Despite the drama surrounding the Detroit Pistons during the past week, they maintain a playoff berth remains a possibility in the weak Eastern Conference.
One of the few positives remaining in the Minnesota Timberwolves' disappointing season is Kevin Love's double-double streak.
Detroit looks to avenge an earlier defeat when it hosts Minnesota on Wednesday night.
The return of Richard Hamilton, who reportedly attempted to organize a boycott of the pregame shootaround Friday in Philadelphia, couldn't help the Pistons (22-40) as they fell 92-90 to Milwaukee on Tuesday. Hamilton shot 4 of 17 and scored 10 points in 26 minutes in his first game since Feb. 5 as he clashed with coach John Kuester.
"My shot felt terrible," Hamilton said. "It felt terrible. The good thing is that I was able to get to where I wanted to get to on the floor, but every bread and butter shot that I pride myself on I missed.
"I expect it," Hamilton added. "That was only my second game in almost two months. I didn't expect it was going to be great. I just told myself, talk to your legs."
Kuester said now that he and Hamilton are on the same page, he expects his veteran guard to contribute. Hamilton scored 26 points Dec. 10 in a 109-99 loss at Minnesota.
"He had some great looks," Kuester said. "Normally, he'll knock those shots down so I was very pleased with his energy. His approach to the game was outstanding, so we'll get him going."
Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points for Detroit, which has lost nine of 11 and is 6 1/2 games back of eighth-place Indiana in the East. Still, forward Charlie Villanueva said the Pistons' goal is to make the postseason."We have to make a decision," Villanueva said. "Are we going to have a terrible season or are we all going to come together and make a push? The guys decided we're going to make a push."A starting point would be a victory against Western Conference-worst Minnesota, which lost 90-79 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.Love extended his double-double streak to 47 with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but shot 2 for 10. The Wolves (14-47) were held to their lowest point total since a 106-78 loss to Portland on Nov. 21, 2009, and scored fewer than 100 points for the seventh time in eight games.Wes Johnson led Minnesota with 20 points and Michael Beasley added 14.Tuesday marked the fewest points the Wolves have allowed since a 103-87 win Jan. 29 against Toronto. Minnesota ranks last in the NBA, giving up 107.7 points per game."It's disheartening for our guys to do a good job on defense, scrambling, helping, doing everything, and then - how many times did (the Lakers) take a difficult shot and make it?," coach Kurt Rambis told the league's official website.Minnesota has lost eight of nine, with the only victory in that stretch coming Sunday when Love had 37 points and 23 boards in a 126-123 win against Golden State.
Minnesota lost last season's meeting in Detroit, 108-85 on Feb. 16, despite 22 points and 15 rebounds from Love.