Wolves @ Pistons Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves @ Pistons 6:30 PM - The Palace of Auburn Hills
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
Wolves:
* Martell Webster (back) - OUT
* Darko Milicic (personal reasons) - OUT

Pistons:
* Jonas Jerebko (Achilles) - OUT
* Terrico White (foot) - OUT
* Tayshaun Prince (sore back) - OUT
* Tracy McGrady (illness) - QUESTIONABLE
* Ben Wallace (personal reasons) – DAY-TO-DAY

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
The Pistons franchise captured championships in the late 80s and enjoyed a remarkable run through 2001-07 based mostly on stability from the front office down to the players on the floor. Over the past two seasons, Detroit has searched for answers while enduring roster turnover and a 22-40 record, outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Last Friday, seven players missed the team's morning shootaround, raising questions about the mindset of its veterans and the job security for head coach John Kuester. Team president Joe Dumars stated Kuester has the "full support" of the team in a news release on Monday. Meanwhile, the Pistons attempt to chase Indiana for the 8th seed in the East with the assembled cast and Kuester running the show from the sidelines. Detroit hosts two straight games before a challenging three-game road trip against San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Denver.

Last Time Out
On Tuesday night, the Pistons were limited to just 15 fourth quarter points in a 92-90 defeat to Milwaukee. The loss dropped Detroit to 22-40 heading into tonight’s contest.

The Wolves held a 45-40 advantage at halftime but only scored 34 points in the second half and fell 90-79 to the Lakers. On the glass, Los Angeles dominated 52-38 en route to its fifth consecutive victory.

The Numbers Game
In the first meeting between the two teams, Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour combined for 47 points, 21 rebounds, and 13 assists. The gaudy production helped lift Minnesota to a 109-99 victory on December 10 at the Target Center.

Match-up to Watch
Luke Ridnour vs. Rodney Stuckey
With the influx of star point guards over the past couple of years, Rodney Stuckey has been overlooked when discussing the elite players at the position. Stuckey is built in a similar mold as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook with his 6-5, 205-pound frame. In Detroit’s 22 wins, the 24-year old averages 18.9 points per game compared to 13.9 in its 40 losses. He owns a powerful first step and will look to attack the rim with any glimmer of light. On the opposite side, Ridnour attempts to duplicate his brilliant performance against the Pistons earlier this season. The Wolves need his production and playmaking abilities in the backcourt to help keep the defense from packing inside the paint.

What to Look For
After a strong offensive outing against Golden State on Sunday, Minnesota only posted 79 points with the Lakers in town last night. As the Wolves search for an improved offensive approach, the team will miss guard / forward Martell Webster due to a sore back and starting center Darko Milicic. Expect newly acquired big man Anthony Randolph to receive a golden opportunity in tonight’s game following 14 minutes of action against the Lakers. Randolph showed glimpses of his intriguing potential, specifically on a fastbreak alley-oop dunk over Derek Fisher. The Wolves will rely on his athleticism to counter the Pistons lengthy and active frontcourt that features similar players with Chris Wilcox, Austin Daye and Greg Monroe in the starting lineup.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.