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Detroit Pistons (22-39) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (25-38)
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Last game: Timberwolves: L, 91-84 vs Memphis, Detroit: L, 116-84 vs Atlanta
The Timberwolves showed some actual fight against the Grizzlies on Tuesday until some big shots by Rudy Gay in the final minutes allowed Memphis to pull away. Gay finished with 28 points and nine rebounds, while JJ Barea went off for 28 points on 10-20 shooting for Minnesota.
The Pistons got crushed by Atlanta on Tuesday. The Hawks shot poorly from deep (28% for the game), but six players scored in double figures as Atlanta cruised to an easy home win.
The Key Questions
#1. Can the Wolves end that damned April streak?
You’ve heard the gruesome numbers and I don’t need to reiterate them. You know as well as I do that it’s been a long time since the Wolves have gotten a win. They have three games left: Detroit, Golden State and Denver. If Minnesota wants to end the season on a good note, all three are potentially winnable.
#2. Who steps up tonight?
The cast of characters Minnesota trots out on the floor is strange, fluid and difficult to predict. This opens the door for odd people to have a big night, thus Anthony Randolph’s three game stretch of dominance. I’m stretching for silver linings here, but since the Wolves have no reason to tank, it can be fun watching Minnesota’s lesser known players put up good stat-lines.
#3. How tough are the Pistons at home?
It’s been a rough year for the Pistons, but not in Detroit. Though their overall record is worse than Minnesota’s, the Pistons are still a winning team at home, going 16-14 on the season.
The Key Matchups
Brandon Knight has put together a decent rookie campaign for the Pistons at point guard, but he turns the ball over quite a bit. Knight’s assist to turnover ratio per 36 minutes is 4.2/2.9. Defensively, Malcolm Lee could be a factor if put to work against Knight.
Nikola Pekovic will be guarding Greg Monroe, a large, strong center much like himself, with soft touch around the basket. Not a battle I would be looking forward to on either side.
On paper, the Wolves should be able to pull out a win. Minnesota is 11th in the league in offensive efficiency according to Basketball Reference, while the Pistons are 28th, scoring just over 90 points per game.
But Minnesota has been hot and cold recently. Hard to tell what to expect from this one.
Game starts at 6:30 on League Pass