GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Pistons - April 6, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: Ballgame, and a big congratulations to Rick Adelman on his 1,000th win as the Wolves beat the Pistons 107-101. Huge sequence at the end of the game. A review gave Minnesota the ball with 25 seconds left. Luke got fouled with 18 seconds left and hit 1-of-2, putting Minnesota up 2. He missed the second, but the Wolves got the offensive rebound and Luke ended up going right back to the line with 15.4 left. He hit both that time, giving Minnesota a 105-101 lead with 15.4 left. The Pistons missed a 3-point attempt, and Pek sealed the game at the line. Much more coming on Timberwolves.com form tonight's game and Adelman's 1,000th win. Final: MIN 107, DET 101

Q4 54.0: Ricky's had a tough night from the field, but he just came up big with the game on the line. He just hit his first field goal of the night, a mid-range jumper that put Minnesota up 102-99 with 54 seconds left. Ricky is 1-for-13 tonight but has 10 points because he's been to the line nine times. MIN 102, DET 99

Q4 9:30: Dante Cunningham just had an incredible sequence. The Pistons just tied the game at 83-83 and picked up a Wolves turnover. Greg Monroe went the other way in transition and attempted a go-ahead slam, but Dante Cunningham came out of nowhere and rejected him with a monster block. DC then picked up a foul on the other end and hit both free throws, then hit a field goal on the team's next possession to give Minnesota a four-point lead. MIN 87, DET 83

End Q3: Minnesota responded to Detroit's run, rallying off a 10-0 run after the Pistons took the one-point lead at 66-65. They've currently got a three-point lead heading into the fourth, led by Pek and Barea with 15. D-Will has 14 points, all in the first, while AK has 13 and Budinger has 10 off the bench. Minnesota is giving up a sizable amount of fast-break points--Detroit is leading that category 18-13. Detroit also has a 38-34 lead in the paint. MIN 81, DET 78

Q3 7:54: Detroit is currently on an 11-4 run, and they've fought back to take the lead once again at 66-65. Minnesota is shooting 2-of-9 from the field, and coming out of this timeout Adelman is keeping his starting five out there except for Derrick Williams, who is headed to the bench in favor of Dante Cunningham. DET 66, MIN 65

Halftime: The Wolves are holding onto a six-point lead heading into the half. That's fine, but like we saw last night you need to be able to take control against these sub-.500 teams while playing at home. If you let a team stick around, someone can get hot and take over. We saw it with Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan last night. Minnesota needs to find a way to take control in the third quarter and get some defensive stops. J.J. Barea finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the second quarter, providing a huge boost off the bench. He has 15 of the Wolves' 25 bench points. Meanwhile, D-Will has 14 points, Pek has 11 and AK has nine. For the Pistons, Stuckey has 13 off the bench and Knight has 10. MIN 61, MIN 55

Q2 2:59: J.J. Barea is putting on a show right now for the Wolves, and Minnesota needed it. The Wolves' 11-point first quarter lead evaporated and the Pistons took a lead as big as two points midway through the second, but Barea has been a steady hand here in the last 10 minutes. He is shooting 6-of-8 with 13 points in the second and has helped build Minnesota's lead back up to seven. This coming off an 0-for-5, zero-point night against the Raptors, marking the first time this season he's failed to score a point during a game in which he's played (he had zero field goals and one free throw in one game this year). It was just the third time in his Wolves career he hasn't scored a basket. MIN 57, DET 50

End Q1: The Wolves put together a strong first quarter and take an eight point lead into the second. Williams continues to shine, now with 14 on 6-of-7 shooting. Pek also still 3-for-3 with nine points. Budinger connected from distance, pushing the Wolves' 3-point efficiency to 3-of-5. Monroe has nine for the Pistons, and Knight has seven. MIN 33, DET 25

Q1 2:57: D-Will and Pek have been scoring machines early on here, combining for 8-of-9 shooting and 19 of the Wolves' 24 points. Meanwhile, AK has shown his excellent court vision by connecting with D-Will on a no-look pass that lead to a slam. Great ball movement, seven Wolves assists on nine field goals. MIN 24, DET 15

Q1 7:38: Fast start for the Wolves, who are shooting 5-of-6 tonight through the first 4 1/2 minutes of the game. Derrick Williams is already 3-for-3 and has been aggressive getting to the hoop and handling some contact in the process. AK and D-Will each have connected from outside, and Minnesota is currently 2-of-3 from 3-point range. They've hit 16-of-27 3-pointers this season against the Pistons dating back to that barrage they hit last week in Auburn Hills. MIN 14, DET 6

Starters:
Pistons:
PG-Jose Calderon, SG-Brandon, SF-Kyle Singler, PF-Greg Monroe, C-Andre Drummond

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Luke Ridnour, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Nikola Pekovic

Pregame 6:35 PM: It sounds like Jose Calderon is going to give it a go tonight, according to Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, so the Pistons should have their regular starting back court duo of Calderon and Brandon Knight against the Wolves at Target Center. But one matchup that intrigues me tonight is how the Wolves match up with the Pistons in the front court. Detroit has had a tough season, but one thing they've done very well is offensive rebounding—they are eighth in the league with 12.2 per game, and they're getting six a night combined from Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

"They jump and they’re long. It’s just tough," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "There’s another example of if you don’t get a hit on a guy, they’re going to win the jumping battle with us. We’ve got to do a better job of getting a hit on people, and all five people. We talk about gang rebounding, and we have to gang rebound."

The Pistons held an 11-8 offensive rebounding advantage last time out, but with Minnesota coming in 10th in the league on the offensive glass, Frank said getting to Pek early in his motions is key to containing him in the paint. There's no doubt Pek strong—Frank called him top three in the league in terms of strength. What the Pistons hope to do is get to Pek before he gets deep catches in the paint or gets to work close to the hoop. That way they'll hope to not get into foul trouble with him. Pek had 16 free throw attempts last night.

"If you can do your work early before he gets the ball and make him earn those points, getting those feet in the paint, you've got a chance," Frank said.

Pregame: 4:30 PM: Welcome back to Target Center for the third to last Wolves home game of the 2012-13 season. We were just here last night as Minnesota came up just short against the Raptors, falling 95-93 in their first shot at securing Rick Adelman’s 1,000th win. They’ll have another shot tonight against the Detroit Piston. Tipoff is set for 7 PM on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM.

The Wolves beat Detroit 105-82 at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 26, and they’ve beaten the Pistons in five straight meetings by an average of 102.8-90.2. This stretch is coming after dropping six of their previous seven meetings against Detroit during the tail end of the Pistons’ constant success of the past decade. Minnesota also tacked on a preseason win against this club in Winnipeg in October.

Last night was Minnesota’s first loss in April this year, obviously a month that has caused the Wolves problems over the last three seasons. But this club is different, and they’ve got a prime opportunity to pick up Adelman’s 1,000th victory tonight against a Pistons teams that continues to struggle. Detroit has lost 17 of its last 20 games, and they have not won a road game against the Western Conference this season—currently sitting 0-14 in that category.

Detroit is 10-28 on the road this year. Minnesota is 18-20 at home.

We’re still awaiting to hear if Jose Calderon will be available. He’s day-to-day with a triceps strain and is probable tonight, but he did miss the team’s last game on Wednesday against Boston. He scored 14 on 5-of-9 shooting in these two teams’ last meeting. Tonight’s big matchup will be inside once again, as Nikola Pekovic continues to shine down low. He is averaging 26.7 points on 63 percent shooting this month, while also bringing down 7.0 rebounds. He has gone to the line 34 times in his last three games and is shooting 82 percent from the line. He did put up 18 point and 11 rebounds last time out against the Pistons. But last night he played 41 minutes in that loss to Toronto, so we’ll see if Adelman watches his minutes a little bit more tonight in the tail end of back to backs.

Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio scored 13 points and added 12 assists last night in that loss to the Raptors, his 11th point-assist double-double of the season, but the focus postgame was the pair of missed free throws down the stretch that ultimately led to Toronto sneaking away with the win. We’ll see how Rubio bounces back tonight. He’s such a competitor and is so fiery, you’ve got to expect he’ll be ready to go and make things difficult on Detroit.

Here are a few pregame news/notes as we get set for tipoff tonight:

  • The Wolves and Pistons are tied in the all-time series at 23-23, and the Wolves are 13-10 at home. Minnesota has won the last five games in the series, including a 105-82 win at Palace of Auburn Hills on March 26, 2013. J.J. Barea led the Wolves in that game with 21 points off the bench, making 5 of 7 shots from three-point range.

  • Rick Adelman is one win shy of reaching 1,000 NBA coaching wins -- a plateau previously reached by only seven coaches.

  • Adelman milestone wins include #1: Portland at Miami 124-102 on Feb. 26, 1989; #100: Portland at Cleveland 120-114 on Dec. 29, 1990; #500: Sacramento vs. Orlando 112-100 on Dec. 11, 2001; #750: Sacramento at Denver 100-82 on April 15, 2006. First Playoff Win: Portland vs. Dallas 109-102 on April 26, 1990. First Finals Win: Portland at Detroit 106-105 OT on June 7, 1990.

  • The Wolves have scored 100+ points in five of the last seven games (4-3 record), averaging 102.7 ppg over this stretch. Overall, Minnesota is 16-6 when scoring 100+ points.

  • Minnesota is 6th in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game (25.2) and 5th in fewest free-throw attempts allowed per game (20.2).

  • Ricky Rubio is averaging 14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 3.0 steals over the last 10 games. He ranks 2nd in the NBA with 2.38 steals per game and 6th in assists with 7.6 apg. He has tallied 10+ assists 14 times this season, including the last three games. His eight steals at Milwaukee on Wednesday tied a Wolves' single-game record and also tied the high in the NBA this season.

  • Nikola Pekovic has been the Wolves' leading scorer in his last five games, averaging 24.2 points, on 59.2% (42-for-71) shooting, and 10.4 rebounds over that span. He has recorded 25 double-doubles this season to rank 22nd in the NBA. He also ranks 12th in the league with 220 offensive rebounds and 18th in field goal percentage at 52.3%.

  • Pekovic has grabbed an offensive rebound in the last 71 games he's played -- the 2nd longest active streak in the NBA (Kevin Love, 75).

  • Greg Monroe has recorded a career-high 35 double-doubles this season, including four in the last five games, to rank 10th in the NBA in that category. He ranks 11th in the league in rebounding with 9.6 per game.

  • Jose Calderon has recorded 15+ assists five times this season -- only Rajon Rondo (7) has more such games. Calderon leads the NBA in assists-to-turnover-ratio at 4.18. He needs four steals for 500 for his career.

  • Detroit ranks 3rd in the NBA in points in the paint with 45.9, and 8th in bench scoring with 36.5 ppg.



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