Scouting Report: Wolves (4-2) vs. Pistons (3-4) | Oct. 24, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (4-2) vs. Pistons (3-4) | Oct. 24, 2013


Timberwolves at Pistons | 6:30 PM — Palace of Auburn Hills

Where to Watch: No TV

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

Email / Twitter

The Detroit Pistons made it clear this offseason that they were serious about competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while making some big moves.

And for good reason. The Pistons haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2009. That roster included guys like Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson.

This offseason the Pistons tried to get some star power by acquiring former Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings in a trade that involved former first-round pick Brandon Knight. The team also signed former Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith, which strengthened an already intimidating frontline that consists of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Former Pistons great Chauncey Billups looks to be in the rotation again after spending the last two seasons in Los Angeles with the Clippers. Billups played for the Pistons from 2002-2008 and led Detroit to the 2004 NBA Championship. Timberwolves fans might not remember Billups played for Minnesota from 2000-2002.

The playoffs look to be in reach for the Pistons as the last three spots in the East look like they could be up for grabs.

The Wolves are looking to solidify their roster. Players like Robbie Hummel, A.J. Price, Othyus Jeffers, Lorenzo Brown and Chris Johnson could see extended time to get a better look from the team’s coaching staff. Don’t be surprised to see the started sit a little longer than normal, especially with the team playing against the Philadelphia 76ers last night.

Last Meeting

Detroit and Minnesota matched up on April 6 last season and the Wolves came away with a 107-101 win at the Target Center. The win was coach Rick Adelman’s 1,000th of his career. He became the eighth coach in NBA history to reach that milestone. The Wolves had seven players in double digits. Center Nikola Pekovic led the way for Minnesota, scoring 20 points, while collecting 13 rebounds. J.J. Barea added 20 points off the bench. Derrick Williams scored 14 points in just 17 minutes and 30 seconds. Dante Cunningham and Andrei Kirilenko both scored 13, while Chase Budinger and Ricky Rubio finished with 10 apiece. Kirilenko also added a game-high seven steals, while the Spanish point guard finished with five.

Knight finished with 25 points to lead Detroit, while Rodney Stuckey added 20 off the bench. Monroe finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Detroit ended up shooting 53.3 percent from the field compared to Minnesota’s mark of 43.4, but the Pistons had 24 turnovers while Minnesota had just 14. That ended up being the difference in the game.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves started off a busy week with a 104-89 victory over the Boston Celtics in Montreal. Power forward Kevin Love led the way, scoring 22 points, while hauling in nine rebounds. Kevin Martin did what the Wolves were looking for when they acquired the shooting guard. Martin finished 5-of-8 from the 3-point line on his way to 21 points. Rubio added 15 points and seven assists while shooting 5-of-9 from the field. Pekovic scored 12 points and collected seven rebounds, while swatting away two shots. The Wolves shot 40 percent (10-25) from the 3-point line and outrebounded the new-look Celtics 54-40.

The Wolves came away with a 125-102 win over the 76ers on Wednesday night, giving them a 4-2 preseason record. Guard J.J. Barea, who is a self-proclaimed bad preseason player, proved himself wrong, leading Minnesota with 22 points.

Love added 19 points, while Kevin Martin added 13. Fighting for a roster spot,Hummel played 25 minutes, but was just 1-of-9 from the field, finishing with two points. Price scored 10 points off the bench, while both Derrick Williams and Shabazz Muhammad had eight each.

Unlike last season, the Wolves had a lot of success from the 3-point line, going 15-of-29 from deep. Love, Martin and Barea combined for 10 makes.

A short-handed Pistons squad fell 87-76 to the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Billups, Jennings, Rodney Stuckey, and Will Bynum all sat out. Drummond finished with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Monroe added 19 points, while Smith scored 13 points, but had five turnovers in the process. Rookies Peyton Siva and Kentavious Caldwell-Pop both started and combined for 23 points and four steals, but shot just 7-of-19.

The Piston rebounded on Tuesday, though, as they took down Washington 99-96. Billups was back in the lineup, but Jennings, Smith and Stuckey were out via coach’s decision.

Monroe led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds while his partner in crime, Drummond, finished with nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Despite the tandem of the two big men, the Pistons were outrebounded 43-39.

Former Duke forward Kyle Singler scored 14 points while making three 3-pointers. Billups finished with 12 points in nearly 32 minutes of play.

The Pistons did a great job of divvying up the workload offensively, finishing with 29 assists compared to Washington’s 18.

Notable players from Washington to miss the game were Chris Singleton (foot), Otto Porter (hip), Emeka Okafor (neck) and Al Harrington (coach’s decision).

What To Watch: Nikola Pekovic vs. Andre Drummond 

The battle of the bigs. Last season was a big one for both players. Pekovic was forced to become Minnesota’s go-to-guy after injuries derailed the team. He answered the call, though, averaging 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while earning a contract extension.

After falling to No. 9 in the draft, Drummond joined Monroe on Detroit’s frontline and averaged a respectable 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while playing just more than 20 minutes per contest.

Pekovic led Minnesota to two wins over Detroit last season and averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds in those games. Drummond played in just one game, and while his team lost 107-101, the rookie put up nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

With Drummond, Monroe and Josh Smith on Detroit’s frontline, Minnesota could find it difficult to score in the paint.

Injury Report Presented By TSR Injury Law

The Wolves will be without Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Jennings will miss the game due to an impacted wisdom tooth. Bynum is expected to play after sitting out on Sunday because of food poisoning.

Probable Starters

  Timberwolves Pistons
PG Ricky Rubio Peyton Siva
SG Kevin Martin Chauncey Billups
SF Corey Brewer Josh Smith
PF Kevin Love Greg Monroe
C Nikola Pekovic Andre Drummond


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.