The Timberwolves had little trouble early pushing the lead to 30 over a Detroit Pistons team that just seemed disinterested on court. It was the 12th game this season that the Wolves have held a 30-point lead in a game.
Like most big leads the Wolves have built this season, it didn't last too long and the inevitable happened--the Pistons went on a big run to get back in the game.
Detroit's run to get back in the game came through the first part of the fourth quarter. The Wolves outscored the Pistons 31-24 in the third quarter and were up 97-69 after three. With a 28-point lead, Adelman felt good enough to turn the game over to his reserves to ride out this big lead and close out the Pistons' second unit.
Unfortunately, the second unit was nothing short of dreadful in the fourth quarter--which (to their credit) is the complete opposite of how they played in the second quarter. The second unit scored just 2 points through the first five-and-a-half minutes of the quarter. As a result, Adelman turned to his starters at the 6:30 minutes left mark to close out the game.
Despite that, a unit led by Willy Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko & Andre Drummond hung with the Wolves. They got that once 30-point lead down to 11 points a number of times in the final few minutes, but that's as close as they'd get as Love & Pek helped the Wolves close out the 114-101 victory.
A large part of Minnesota's success was containing the Detroit big men. Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic got Greg Monroe & Andre Drummond into foul trouble early and limited how aggressive they could be on both ends. Drummond came into tonight's game on a tear, but Pekovic got him into foul trouble early and Andre eventually fouled out with just under two minutes to play in the game. Detroit's budding superstar played just 21 minutes and finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds & 2 blocks. He was basically entirely ineffective until the fourth quarter where he scored 4 of his 6, grabbed 6 of his 7 boards and had his two blocks, playing 7 of his 21 minutes.
The Pistons had just 4 assists at halftime. They went with Willy Bynum for the majority of the fourth quarter and he helped move the ball better with that oddball lineup that got the Pistons back into it late in the fourth. They finished with 17.
The Wolves were out-rebounded by a +5, beat by a +8 on the fast break and a +12 in the paint. They overcame those deficiencies with the interior play from Love & Pek. In addition to to that, Kevin Martin bounced back from a very poor performance vs. the Knicks. He took advantage of the matchup with Kyle Singler early, scoring 11 of his 24 in the first quarter alone.
The Wolves improve to 31-30 on the season, they still sit 5 games out of that final West playoff spot. They'll be back in action Sunday evening at the Target Center vs. the Toronto Raptors, tipoff is set for 6pmCST.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!