Solid shooting from distance spurs Wolves’ win
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The scouting report against the Minnesota Timberwolves is pretty simple — pack the paint, because they can’t shoot 3-pointers.
Don’t tell that to the Detroit Pistons.
The Timberwolves, who came into the game shooting a league-worst 29 percent from behind the arc, hit 14 3-pointers Tuesday night in a 105-82 rout of the hapless Detroit Pistons.
“We were due for a night like this,” said J.J. Berea, who went 5 for 7 on 3s. “Our starters started getting hot, and we kept the flow going.”
Detroit snapped a 10-game losing streak Saturday night in Charlotte, but certainly didn’t build off that win against Minnesota.
“Of those 14 3-pointers, how many were contested? Not many,” said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. “We just had so many defensive breakdowns tonight. We let them hit some shots and gain some confidence, and then we just left them wide-open all night.”
The game matched one of the league’s worst home teams against one of the worst on the road. The Pistons haven’t won at home since before the All-Star break, losing seven straight, while Minnesota only had one road victory in March.
Nikola Pekovic provided a perfect complement to Minnesota’s 3-point barrage, dominating the paint for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Barea matched a season-best with 21 points off the bench, while Luke Ridnour scored 15 and Ricky Rubio added 14 points and nine assists.
“It was fun to have a game like this,” Rubio said. “When shots are going in, it is easier to play. We’ve been strong all season, but we haven’t hit 3s, so we need to keep this going.”
Greg Monroe had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, while point guard Jose Calderon scored 14 points, but had only one assist. Monroe and Calderon were the only Pistons to reach double figures, until Khris Middleton got to 10 with an uncontested dunk in the final 20 seconds.
The Timberwolves hit five of six 3-pointers early in the third quarter to take a 13-point lead. Minnesota kept rolling throughout the period, outscoring Detroit 38-16 in the quarter to build an 82-54 lead.
“We just didn’t guard anyone,” rookie Kim English said.
Another small Palace crowd showered the Pistons with boos as the game got more and more out of hand. The only cheer came when the mascot hit a half-court shot during a timeout, but the applause ended when Minnesota scored another easy basket shortly after the break.
“We deserved everything we got tonight,” Frank said. “We’ve got 24 wins and not many games left. The fans that were out here tonight are the hardcore loyalists, and we need to give them a better product. They have every right to boo us right now.”
NOTES: The Pistons were missing backup point guard Will Bynum (hand) and rookie center Andre Drummond (back). Drummond, who has been out since Feb. 8, has returned to full activity and could play as soon as Friday. … Kevin Love is scheduled to have a CT scan on his broken right hand later this week to determine if he will play again this season. … Long-time Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour will be out indefinitely with an undisclosed medical issue.