Scouting Report: Wolves at Pistons
Wolves (24-44) vs Detroit Pistons (24-47) at 6:30 PM, The Palace of Auburn Hills
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
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Before the Wolves face four consecutive playoff contenders at home, they have the chance to bring momentum into their homestand as they face the Pistons tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Tip-off is set for 6:30 PM on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
After losing 10 consecutive games, the Pistons broke their skid with a 92-91 win over the Bobcats. In that game, bench forward Charlie Villanueva broke out for 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, scoring 14 of them in the fourth quarter. He (3.6 RPG), Kyle Singler (4.0), Jason Maxiell (5.7) and Greg Monroe (9.5) are the big men who hold down the eighth-best rebounding team in the league, and they are also the four top scorers in Detroit. Monroe is scoring a career-best 15.8 points per contest.
As far as guards, Brandon Knight is averaging 13.8 PPG. Jose Calderon, who was acquired mid-season, is dishing 6.9 assists per game along with his 11.9 PPG. Rodney Stuckey (11.2 PPG) has bounced in and out of the starting lineup. Sure, they just barely beat the worst team in the league. But the Wolves have fallen twice to Charlotte this year, so they can’t take any opponent for granted.
Last Time Out: Oct. 24, 2012
Holding a 17-point lead after the first and a 23-point lead at halftime, the Wolves appeared well on their way to a comfortable victory over the Detroit Pistons during their preseason matchup at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Oct. 24.
They didn’t figure they would have to fight off a 21-1 run in the third. Despite Detroit’s best efforts, Minnesota won its NBA Canada Series matchup, 95-76.
“Teams are going to have runs,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “In our league, runs happen all the time. You’ve got to be able to respond to it. I think sometimes it’s good, especially in exhibitions it’s not going to be easy in the second half as it was in the first. But like I said, we responded and we opened it back up.”
Chase Budinger led the team with 21 points, while Derrick Williams finished with 18 points and Pekovic added 14 points and nine rebounds. Cunningham, who played 25:57 off the bench while splitting time with Williams, grabbed a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds—including three offensive boards that led to second chance points.
“Dante really came off the bench and did a great job,” Adelman said. “We did a nice job on the boards all night. I thought maybe the fourth quarter they got a few they shouldn’t have, but for the most part it was a nice effort.”
Stuckey led Detroit with 21 points, while Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler each had 11 points and Tayshaun Prince had eight.
Key Matchup: Greg Monroe and Nikola Pekovic
These two big men are enjoying the best scoring seasons of their careers, Monroe with 15.8 PPG and Pekovic with 15.6. They’re also both playing more minutes than ever, proving to be the anchors of their respective low posts.
Curiously, Monroe only scored six points in the win over Charlotte; Villanueva was the hero in that one. For 12 straight games prior to that game, Monroe scored in double-digits. He also collected double-digit rebounds in six of those contests. He’s Detroit’s undisputed force in the paint, and he’ll have to contend with Pekovic for control under the hoop.
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
Wolves forward Kevin Love said on Sunday that he plans to have his broken right hand re-evaluated later this week, likely locally, and from there he and the coaching staff will evaluate his comeback status if he is cleared for full contact. He said he’s feeling much better than his first comeback from a broken hand in November and December, and it’s showing at practice. Love continues to hit 3-point shots with high efficiency—he did so again yesterday working with assistant coach Bill Bayno and player development coach David Adelman. For the Pistons, center Andre Drummond is likely out tonight with a back injury and guard Will Bynum is doubtful with a hand injury.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Jose Calderon|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||Brandon Knight|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Kyle Singler|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Jason Maxiell|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Greg Monroe|