Here's the recap from tonight's preseason finale in Detroit...
-Just checked into the game now, missed the first 9(ish) minutes of the first quarter. Wolves lead by 5, 16-11 with 3:15 to play in the first quarter.
-I see Nikola Pekovic is out with a quad contusion. Turiaf started and the starting small forward tonight was Dante Cunningham. Of all the players I thought might start at small forward these last two games, I didn't pick Hummel or Cunningham in any scenario. I like the idea of Dante as the starting three, mainly from a defensive standpoint. You are sacrificing having more scorers in that starting five by starting him, though. Dante is definitely a better perimeter defender at the small forward (compared to Derrick Williams).
-Ricky Rubio is apparently ON FIRE! Hope he keeps it up so I can see him hit some more threes.
-I like this Pistons squad, especially the potential of their starting frontcourt: Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. There only real weakness might be Drummond's low-post scoring and Smith's perimeter scoring.
-In the recent GM survey, the Pistons were listed as the team who they thought would be most improved this season. I think they still have a lot of question marks and with a lot of new faces, they need to gel together quickly.
-Bynum hits a shot at the buzzer to tie this one at 20 after one quarter.
-Rubio leads the Wolves after one with 10 points, including hitting 2-of-3 from deep.
-The Wolves start the second quarter with a Barea, Shved, Brewer, Williams, Dieng lineup.
-Alexey Shved gets the Wolves the first basket of the second quarter on a triple. He's definitely looking better from deep after a less than stellar 2012-13 campaign from deep.
-It's clear the Wolves haven't really cooled down from deep (from what I've seen). Barea nails another triple and on the next offensive possession, J.J. drives the lane for the scoop shot layup. Next offensive possession, Barea finds Brewer on the baseline for an alley-oop slam. It's clear that the second unit offense runs through J.J. and in this game it's working for the Wolves.
-In what I've seen, offensively from Gorgui Dieng...he's struggling. Missed a handful of mid-range jumpers (we know he has that range) as well as some misses in the paint. Of course, I don't think the Wolves are going to be asking him to do too much offensively when he plays.
-If you read my recap from yesterday's win over the Sixers, you'll know why I don't like the Pistons' rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. PICK A LAST NAME! Making me write that out every time!
-Dieng is getting some extended run with no Nikola Pekovic tonight. Seconds after I wrote that he got called for the foul and came out of the game in favor of tonight's starting five-man, Ronny Turiaf.
-A Josh Smith triple followed by an Andre Drummond bucket in the paint, gives the Pistons on a 32-40 lead and Detroit is on a 13-0 run.
-Wolves back with the starters out of a timeout following that 13-0 run. They go to work and trim the lead to 5, 38-42 with 3:30 to play in the half.
-Despite bringing the starters back in, the Wolves are still gettting out-hustled in this one. Need to turn up the intensity and get back on defense! A lot of easy transition hoops for the Pistons in that late part of this quarter.
-With no Nikola Pekovic in this one, the Pistons' big men (Monroe & Drummond) are getting to the rim and finishing quite easily. Wolves need to toughen up on the interior. They're also settling for far too many jumpers.
-Watching Caldwell-Pope match up with Kevin Martin it really makes me wonder what the team would look like if the Pistons had not taken KCP with the 8th overall pick. It was widely assumed that he'd go #9 to the Timberwolves. Of course, he went one earlier, the Wolves traded down for #14 & #21 and got Shabazz & Dieng. Makes me wonder if we had got KCP, would we have Martin? Brewer? Re-signed Budinger? Who knows, can't say I'm upset that the Wolves have Martin instead though! Incredibly talented offensively and fits perfectly in Adelman's O.
-Corey Brewer misses a three at the buzzer and the Wolves trail the Pistons 46-51 at the half.
-The Wolves are still being led in scoring by Ricky Rubio w/10pts on 4-7 FG, 2-3 3PT as well as 1reb, 1ast & 2stls in 15 minutes. Kevin Love has played 17 minutes and has 7pts, 7reb & 2ast.
-The Pistons are being led by the hustle and athleticism of Andre Drummond. He has 7pts, 12reb, 1ast & 1blk in 20 minutes. Willy Bynum has orchestrated the offense VERY well off the bench, in 11 minutes he has 9pts, 3reb & 5ast.
-The Wolves are shooting 37.5% from the field, 42.9% from deep and a perfect 10-for-10 at the line. The Pistons are shooting 48.7% from the field, 44.4% from deep, but just 9-for-16 from the line (56.2%).
-Wolves need to be more efficient on the offensive end and vary up the attack. Yes, there's no Nikola Pekovic tonight, but someone (LOVE!) needs to establish some low-post scoring in this one.
-Drummond grabs another board and is now up to 13 on the night! Showing K-Love how it's done? Love just with 7 on the night.
-Wolves do go with the same starting lineup that began the game: Rubio, Martin, Cunningham, Love & Turiaf.
-WOW! K-Mart with a drive and fadeaway over a LARGE Drummond paw as he's hacked. Gets the ball to go and nails the and-one for the three-point play.
-I definitely expected a lineup with defenders Cunningham, Turiaf and Rubio to be a bit better defensively, but they haven't been able to slow down the Pistons' offensive attack.
-Rubio definitely looking more confident in his shot. He airballed a three at the shot clock buzzer, but he stole the outlet pass from Drummond and came right down the court, jump stop, pop and buried it off the glass.
-Wolves haven't been good defensively, but their offense is keeping them in this one. Martin nails a triple on one possession, the next offensive possesion (following a defensive stop) K-Love hits from deep. Just a one-point game, 57-58. Next offensive possession for the Wolves, K-Love hits ANOTHER triple. Minny on a 9-0 run all triples, all from the Kevins! Wolves lead 60-58 and Mo Cheeks calls the timeout.
-I feel like this may be the story this season: the Wolves are going to be porous on D, but they'll have an incredibly lethal offensive attack--especially with Pek back in the lineup and Chase Budinger returning to lauch from deep.
-Rubio gets back in on the three-point action as he nails his third triple of the game! Now up to 15 points on the night! Did it and got hit on the arm on his release too (no foul call, but nailed it anyway).
-I don't expect Rubio to be a lethal three-point shooter, but if he shows he has that kind of range and when left alone will actually hit those shots, this team's offense becomes 100x more lethal.
-Mr. Love misses the three, Turiaf boards, Love cuts down the lane and Ronny finds him for the one-handed hammer over Greg Monroe! Looked real pretty.
-Kevin Love finally establishing himself in the paint (just as I said the Wolves needed) it's begun to open up a lot of things both for Love and his teammates.
-Kevin Martin with another one of those fadeaway floaters, gets it to go down and will go to the line for the and-one. This team will be infuriating when they're not on offensively (just because the D won't be very good), but when they're 'on', this may be the NBA team that's most fun to watch.
-Ricky Rubio looks shaken up on a play, walks up the court strangely. Next dead ball brings in J.J. as he heads to the bench. Looked like something to do with his neck or shoulder. Didn't get a good look at the play in real time, haven't seen a replay either.
-Kevin Love pumped faked three times in the post and got stripped by Kyle Singler, Singler fell out of bounds and as he did, Love booted him in the face (very accidental, not another Luis Scola situation). Love helped him up afterwards.
-The Wolves lead by 5 after three quarters, 75-70. Love had 12 in that quarter, Martin added 10 and Rubio another 5. Very high-powered offense for the Wolves who outscored Detroit 29-19 in the third.
-The Wolves begin the final quarter with Barea, Martin, Brewer, Williams and Dieng.
-Martin buries another, this one heavily contested, now up to 18 on the night.
-Will be interesting to see how Martin and Barea operate with one another in the backcourt.
-Derrick Williams takes a shot to the mid-section as he drops to the floor. Wolves call a timeout, but he seems to be all right. I didn't see it, so I don't know if it was indeed in the mid-section or if it was a bit lower...that's seemed to happen to Derrick a number of times in his few NBA seasons.
-Was just looking on Twitter and it sounds as though it was indeed a 'nutshot'.
-I also saw that the Sixers have waived Royce White, so I guess they just want him to 'shut up'. If you didn't read my recap last night, that makes no sense to you.
-The Pistons lead the Wolves by 3 with 8:25 to play. Will be interesting to see if Adelman goes back to Love & Rubio in the final 4-5 minutes to close this one out. Part of me says: No, don't risk injury. The other REALLY wants them back on the floor.
-This should be a much improved Pistons squad, especially when they get Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey back from injury.
-Andre Drummond with the putback slam and is now up to 11pts & 19reb. Would've been less with Pekovic out there, but a heck of a game from a guy who will be in talks for Most Improved all year long. He picks up his 5th personal on Dieng with 6:26 to play and heads to the bench. Will likely see him out there again before this one is over.
-Kyle Singler has been knocked on his rear about six times tonight. At least one was a flop, but the others...the Wolves are just shoving him to the deck.
-Two Josh Smith free throws make it 83-86 Detroit with 5:30 to go.
-Pistons basically going with starters (Bynum in for Siva) against Minnesota's Barea, Shved, Brewer, Williams & Dieng. With 3 minutes to play it's clear this is the team that will close out the game and they're down by 2; 89-91.
-The Piston broadcasters continue to talk about how bad both these teams want to win this one. I know Adelman wants a win, but if he REALLY wanted a win he'd have his stars in and they've haven't been seen in this final quarter. Whereas the Pistons have gone mainly with their best players down the stretch.
-Barea shakes and bakes around Bynum who stumbles to the floor and J.J. nails the wide-open 20-footer.
-It's Greg Monroe shooting two free throws with 1:03 to play. The Pistons lead 94-95. Monroe misses them both. Adelman takes a timeout with 58.8 seconds to go, down 1.
-Who the hell is the guy on the Pistons with the beard and high ponytail?! Hahaha. If someone knows his name, you gotta let me know!
-Williams nails a long two to give the Wolves a 97-96 lead. With 45.7 seconds to go, Detroit takes a timeout.
-Brewer gets whistled for the foul and Josh Smith heads to the stripe for two. He goes 1 of 2 to tie it with just over 40 seconds to play. 96-all.
-Williams takes another long two, this one misses. KCP rebounds and is fouled by Barea as he tries to race downcourt. KCP steps to the line for two. He misses them both and it's still 96-all with 18 seconds to play. Adelman calls a timeout. The Pistons are 1-for-6 from the line here late in the fourth quarter.
-I would love to be Adelman's shadow for a day...it would be a heck of a learning experience. Such an incredible wealth of knowledge on the game. Let's see what he's drawn up for this final shot. Regardless of whether it's what he drew up I say this one ends with a J.J. Barea shot! YES IT DOES! Barea drives the rack and hits a lay in over Drummond. Wolves lead by 2; 98-96 with 3.6 seconds to play. Detroit Timeout.
-Josh Smith bounces in a triple at the buzzer to give the Pistons the W. The Palace goes wild and the broadcasters say, WHO SAYS THE PRESEASON DOESN'T MATTER?! Everyone, everyone says that... We'll win in the regular season and that's all that'll matter. It's great to see that Minnesota's second unit can hang with a solid starting unit like the one in Detroit. Went back-and-forth with them all night. This loss doesn't hurt one bit. Can't wait for the season opener vs. the Magic next week!
With no Nikola Pekovic the Wolves struggled a bit on the interior, luckily Love was able to establish himself a bit more in the paint, in that third quarter. The Wolves were narrowly edged in the rebounding battle 42-45, however Detroit's starting center Drummond did go off for a 20-rebound night.
The Wolves were definitely hitting threes in this one, however they did seem to settle for them a bit too much. I think with Pekovic returning that should improve as they'll look to balance the attack a bit more.
The Wolves did take care of business at the line and shot a respectable percentage from the field, but really it was not having a more balanced offensive attack that hurt them in this one. Clearly, they would've won if not for Smith's last second desperation three that somehow went in, but the Wolves didn't look quite as good as we know they can be.
That's all for preseason action, the real deal starts next Wednesday night at the Target Center when the Wolves will take on the Orlando Magic for the first game of the 2013-14 NBA regular season!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!