GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Pistons
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Postgame: Check back with Timberwolves.com for postgame analysis, highlights and locker room interviews with the Wolves after tonight's win. The Wolves will face the Milwaukee Bucks in Green Bay on Friday to end their seven-game preseason slate.
End Q4: And that's a wrap here in Winnipeg. The Wolves were hot early, let Detroit cut a 23-point lead down to three before regaining their edge and pulling away with a 95-76 win at the MTS Centre. The Wolves were led by Chase Budinger's 21 points, including 5 3-pointers, as well as 18 points from Williams, 14 from Pekovic and a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds) from Cunningham. Cunningham certainly provided the presence on the glass the Wolves are looking for in Love's absence, and Williams found his way to the foulu line a team-high nine times. He was 7-of-9 from the stripe, while the team was 13-of-16 total. Final: MIN 95, DET 76
Q4 2:28: We've just got a couple minutes left here in Winnipeg and the Wolves are beginning to send in some of the reserves who hadn't seen time yet tonight. Malcolm Lee, Mike Harris and Chris Johnson are among them. Before Budinger left the contest, he became the team's top offensive performer with an 8-for-11 night from the field (5-of-8 from 3-point range) and 21 points in 21 minutes of work. MIN 89, DET 73
Q4 5:17: The announced attendance tonight was 13,163 here at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Really nice, energetic crowd here at the game and tons of great fans who participated in all the clinics and community projects over the past two days. Meanwhile on the court, Minnesota holds an 82-67 lead with 5:17 remaining. The big development here is Chase Budinger's night from 3-point land. He's 4-of-7 from deep and has a team-high 18 points off the bench. Overall he's shooting 7-of-10 from the floor. Budinger continues to impress with his shooting this preseason and should be a pretty valuable asset off the bench for the Wolves this winter. MIN 82, DET 67
Q4 9:51: If you're watching this one at home I hope you're good with numbers. The Wolves took a 23-point lead into the half, watched it evaporate down to three points midway through the third, and now they have a 19-point lead with 9:51 left in the fourth. Hmm. MIN 74, DET 55
End Q3: After a huge comeback by the Pistons to start the third, the Wolves responded to push the lead to 68-53 as we head into the fourth. To combat that 21-1 run Detroit had at the beginning of the quarter, Minnesota responded with a 13-1 run at the end to extend their lead. As we begin play here in the fourth, Pekovic and Williams each have 14 to lead the team, and Cunningham has a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Adelman is looking for ways to fill the hole left by Love's average of 13 rebounds a night, and Cunningham is doing so right now with a nice hustle performance in 20 minutes of work. MIN 68, MIN 53
Q3 3:03: The Pistons came out firing in the third and made this one a game. They came out on a 21-1 run in the third and currently hold a 23-7 advantage in the quarter as Minnesota now leads 59-52. The Wolves opened up the quarter 0-for-6 from the field and had four turnovers through the first seven minutes. They had six turnovers the entire first half. Coming out of the timeout the Wolves are sending out Ridnour, Roy, AK, Cunningham and Pek. MIN 59, DET 52
Q3 7:56: The Pistons look re-energized after the half, as the come out on a 12-1 run to begin the third quarter. The Wolves called a timeout to try and regroup here as their 23-point lead has shrunk to 12. Play resumes with Ridnour, Roy, Kirilenko, Cunningham and Pek on the floor. MIN 53, DET 41
End Half: The Wolves are taking a 52-29 lead into halftime thanks to a big rebounding advantage and a little help from a tough shooting night from the Pistons. Coach Rick Adelman wanted to see D-Will more active in the offense, and he's done that so far tonight. Although he's shooting 3-of-8 from the field, he has a game-high 13 points and is 6-of-7 from the line. Part of that was aided by being fouled on a 3-point attempt at the end of the first. Dante Cunningham has been efficient in his minutes. He's 3-of-5 with six points and six rebounds in 10 minutes so far tonight. He's collected a few nice offensive rebounds and putbacks around the basket during his minutes. Luke Ridnour has missed time this preseason with back trouble, but he's starting to show signs of last year's performance tonight. He's shooting 2-for-2 from 3-point land and has six points. Meanwhile, Pekovic has been a force during his time in the game. He's shooting 5-of-7 and is getting some nice looks in the paint. MIN 52, DET 29
Q2 3:08: A big reason why the Wolves are holding a 23-point lead right now is rebounding. Minnesota is leading Detroit 30-15 on the glass and holds a 9-0 offensive rebounding advantage. Pekovic is leading the way with seven rebounds, and Cunningham has five. Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said after shootaround that the Wolves pose problems on the boards--he was alluding to when Love was also on the floor--and he said teams need to hope the Wolves miss and block out. Right now that hasn't been working for the Pistons. MIN 44, DET 21
Q2 5:45: Dante Cunningham is being opportune with his minutes so far tonight. He's been in the game for about 5 minutes and is 3-for-3 from the floor with six points and five rebounds--two offensive. The highlight of the night so far might be Alexey Shved wrestling away an offensive rebound from Andre Drummond, missing his shot but Cunningham snagging the putback and scoring. Barea has been active in his penetration so far tonight, and moments ago he created a nice scoring opportunity for Stiemsma by driving and passing it off in mid air for an easy Stiemsma basket. MIN 39, DET 18
Q2 9:06: After a dismal first quarter from the field, the Pistons came out on a 7-0 run to start the second and began to chip into the Wolves' 17-point first quarter lead. But the Wolves responded and hold a 31-18 lead as we come out of the timeout. Shved, Cunningham and Stiemsma all got their first minutes of the night early in the second and that trio along with Budinger and Barea are on the floor as we resume play. MIN 31, DET 18
End Q1: The Wolves held a 24-10 lead, and with 0.2 seconds left in the quarter D-Will was fouled on what looked to be a last second shot at the end of the quarter. He connects on all three shots, and the Wolves lead 27-10 after 1. The Pistons are shooting 3-of-17 so far tonight. MIN 27, DET 10
Q1 1:50: The Wolves are holding a 17-6 lead as we get close to the end of the first, mostly in part to the Pistons' tough start from the field. Detroit is 3-of-16 so far and haven't grabbed an offensive rebound. Meanwhile, the Wolves are 8-for-21 and are handling the Pistons on the board. They hold a 16-9 advantage on the glass and have the game's only four offensive rebounds. Coming out of the timeout, JJ Barea checks in for Ridnour and Chase Budinger checks in for Kirilenko. D-Will just hit a pair of free throws, making it a 13-point game. MIN 19, DET 6
Q1 4:15: We're more than midway through the first quarter and we're at the first timeout here at the MTS Centre. The Wolves are hold a 10-6 lead with Pekovic and Roy leading the way with four points each. Roy has scored both his field goals in the paint, the first coming after cutting through the lane and taking a feed from Luke Ridnour, and the second with a nice pivot move in the paint for the lay-in. Pekovic has gotten to the line once after scoring and drawing the foul. He's 2-of-3 from the field. Coming out of the timeout the Wolves stuck with their starting five. MIN 10, DET 6
Pregame: 7:00 PM: We are moments away from tipoff, and both the Wolves and Pistons are on the court for pregame warmups and intros. We just had both the Star Spangled Banner and Oh Canada performed by The Tenors, and the group did an excellent job performing both. Really well done. Also, as the Pistons got situated in their pregame routine after taking the court Tayshaun Prince and Andrei Kirilenko met at half court to greet one another. After AK spent last year in Russia, it's been a couple years since the two long-time veterans have faced one another. Obvious mutual respect for one another.
It looks like the starting lineups will be as follows. Pistons: PG-Knight, SG-Stuckey, SF-Prince, PF-Maxiell, C-Monroe. Timberwolves: PG-Ridnour, SG-Roy, SF-Kirilenko, PF-Williams, C-Pekovic.
Pregame: 6:30 PM: Greetings from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, where the Minnesota Timberwolves will take on the Detroit Pistons in the second and final installment of the NBA Canada Series. The Wolves (3-2) organization have spent the past day and a half doing community appearances, hosting youth and coaches clinics and doing local media appearances, but tonight it's back to the court where they'll face a Pistons squad who is 3-3 during the preseason slate. Coach Rick Adelman said pregame that tonight he's giving Derrick Williams the start at power forward--Dante Cunningham got the nod during the team's first game without Kevin Love on Friday in Chicago. But Adelman said like the Chicago game he's looking to give both equal time, and he didn't discount Andrei Kirilenko getting a little time there as well.
Heading into tonight's game Adelman said Luke Ridnour would likely be available, and Ridnour was out doing warmups during pregame and sounded like he is finally feeling better after battling back issues throughout the preseason. Adelman said if Ridnour feels fine, he'll likely get the start. On the Pistons' side, coach Lawrence Frank said in shootaround that he expects his normal starting lineup on the floor tonight. I'll update the official starting lineups once we get closer to gametime.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night and follow @MNTimberwolves, @Wolves_PR and @MarkRemme on Twitter for in-game tweets throughout the game.