Scouting Report: Wolves (30-30) vs. Pistons (24-37) | March 7, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Pistons | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
After dropping a home game on Wednesday to the New York Knicks, the Minnesota Timberwolves are in a big need of a win on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons.
The Wolves are still in the playoff hunt, but they sit in 10th place in the West and there is just 22 games remaining for the team to erase a five-game deficit.
The Pistons have had a somewhat disappointing season in 2013-14, especially after acquiring Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith in the offseason. The Pistons sit at 24-37, but according to the Basketball-Reference.com, the team has a 6.1 percent of making the playoffs. Hey, crazier things have happened. Both teams have a lot on the line in this one.
The Wolves are 1-0 against the Pistons this season with the win coming on Dec. 10 in Detroit. Minnesota won 121-94 behind 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven rebounds from Kevin Love. All five starters hit double-digits for the Wolves. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin both scored 18. Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer had 15 and 11 points, respectively. J.J. Barea led the second unit with 10 points.
Minnesota shot 45.8 percent (11-24) from the 3-point line.
Brandon Jennings led Detroit with 20 points and seven assists. He committed six turnovers in the process. Josh Smith added 17 points, while rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 16. Greg Monroe was the only other player to hit double-digits, scoring 10.
The Pistons struggled from the free-throw line, shooting just 8-of-16.
March 7, 2014
The Wolves are coming off of a tough 118-106 home loss to the New York Knicks.
Despite all five scorers hitting double-digits, the Wolves were unable to gain momentum against the Knicks, who shot 52.2 percent from the field. Love had 18 first-half points, but just one in the second. Pekovic had 17 points for the Wolves, while Brewer added 16. Martin and Rubio had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Rubio committed a game-high six turnovers in the loss.
Minnesota is 3-2 in its last five games.
The Pistons are coming off of a 105-94 home loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Monroe had a solid night for the Pistons, finishing with a team-high 27 points to go with seven boards, five assists and two steals. Kyle Singler had 16 points. Drummond and Smith both scored 15 points, but Smith struggled from the field, shooting just 6-of-21.
Detroit is 1-4 in its last five games.
What To Watch: Ricky Rubio vs. Brandon Jennings
When Jennings came into the league back in 2009 with the Bucks, he was one of the more anticipated players in that draft class. In his four years since then, it’s still unknown what kind of player Jennings is. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game (lowest since 2010-11), but eight assists (career-high). He’s struggled from the field (37.6 percent, lowest since rookie season).
Jennings still has the potential to be one of the best scoring guards in the league. He has three games in which he’s scored more than 30 points and 21 over 20.
Rubio will need to use his quick hands (2.4 steals per game, first in NBA) to make sure Jennings remains in check. Rubio is having an up-and-down season as well, averaging a career-low 8.8 points per game, but a career-high 2.4 steals, 4.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists. He’s also shooting a career-best 36.8 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from the 3-point line and 81.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Minnesota center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) is out indefinitely.
Detroit guard Chauncey Billups (knee surgery) is out indefinitely. Center Josh Harrellson (partially torn ligament in left knee) is also out indefinitely.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Brandon Jennings|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Kyle Singler|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Josh Smith|
|PF||Kevin Love||Greg Monroe|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Andre Drummond|