Pistons vs Timberwolves Game Preview - Apr. 19, 2012
They only have three more chances to end that stunning streak, but a meeting with the Detroit Pistons could be just what they need to do it.
The visiting Timberwolves look to end their 27-game losing streak in April by winning a fourth straight over what could be a tired Pistons team Thursday night.
With Kevin Love (concussion), Ricky Rubio (knee) and Luke Ridnour (ankle) all out, Minnesota (25-38) is mired in an 11-game losing streak - its longest since losing 15 in a row to close 2010-11. An end to this skid would seem to be unlikely since the Timberwolves haven't won a game in April since beating Golden State on April 8, 2009.
After visiting Detroit (23-39), Minnesota returns home to face the Warriors on Sunday - Love's earliest possible return date - before hosting Denver to close the season Thursday. The Wolves led Memphis by a point at halftime Tuesday before falling 91-84.
"I'm disappointed for the guys. They played their tails off," coach Rick Adelman said.
Minnesota will now try to capitalize on a meeting with the Pistons, who have dropped six of eight and are playing the final game of a stretch of three in three nights. The Timberwolves beat Detroit 93-85 on Jan. 18 after winning both meetings last season, including a 116-105 road victory March 2, 2011.
J.J. Barea will likely play a big role if Minnesota is to end its slide. The point guard has averaged 16.1 points and 9.1 assists while being inserted into the lineup over the last eight games. He had a season-high 28 points while hitting 5 of 9 attempts from beyond the arc against the Grizzlies.
"I'm used to playing 20 or 25 minutes max, but I'm enjoying it," Barea said.
The Pistons are trying to go 2-1 on this busy stretch after getting pounded 116-84 at Atlanta on Wednesday in a game they trailed by as many as 41. That was in stark contrast to their 116-77 win over Cleveland a night earlier.
"We were two different teams," said rookie guard Walker Russell, who had a season-high 15 points against the Hawks. "I don't want to blame the back-to-back because we're supposed to come out and be competitive every night. But sometimes it just happens. They came out and really put it to us."
Greg Monroe continues to be one of the few bright spots for Detroit, making 59.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and averaging 16.6 points over the past five games.
The second-year center has averaged 13.0 points and 12.7 rebounds in three meetings with the Timberwolves, recording 18 and 11 in last season's visit to Detroit.
Austin Daye had a team-high 22 points in that game. Starting on Wednesday as Tayshaun Prince rested during the Pistons' busy stretch, Daye went 1 of 11 and had four points in 30 minutes.