National Basketball Association
Timberwolves-Pistons Preview
National Basketball Association

Timberwolves-Pistons Preview

Published Dec. 31, 2015 1:25 a.m. ET

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves found a way to snap their losing streak against a short-handed team.

They will have little time to savor a rare home win before taking the court against an opponent they have dominated in recent years.

Towns and the visiting Timberwolves will try to win back-to-back games for the second time this month when they face the Detroit Pistons on New Year's Eve.

Towns had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 94-80 win over injury-plagued Utah on Wednesday. It snapped a four-game losing streak for the Wolves and marked just their fourth victory in 16 games.


Ricky Rubio racked up 17 assists, tying a career and franchise high, with six coming in a big fourth quarter. Minnesota (12-20) shot 13 of 19 from the field while scoring 32 points in the fourth after shooting 39.7 percent over the first three.

Towns, the No. 1 overall draft pick in June, had 12 points in the fourth after being pulled by coach Sam Mitchell following some sloppy play in the third.

"What he's doing offensively for a 20-year-old is just amazing," Mitchell said. "The way he's scoring the basketball, how efficient he is. But to Karl's credit, when I took him out of the game he said, 'Coach I know why you're taking me out of the game.' He's a unique individual."

The Timberwolves piled up 27 assists on 36 made shots, including 11 on 13 baskets in the fourth quarter.

They improved to 5-12 at home but have been better on the road, going 7-8.

Location hasn't made a difference when they play the second half of a back-to-back, though, as they're 0-5 in such games.

Detroit (17-15) enters on a three-game losing streak, one off a season worst.

Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points in a 108-96 loss at New York on Tuesday. Andre Drummond was held to 13 points and nine rebounds after going nine consecutive games - and 14 of 15 - with double-digits boards.

"I'm tired of losing. Tired of watching fans walk out of here up 15, going home excited about a win," said Reggie Jackson, who had 17 points and nine assists. "We can't continue to watch ourselves sink."

Jackson has been held to less than 20 points in each of his last four games after scoring at least 20 in each of the previous five.

The guard had 18 points when the Pistons snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Timberwolves with a 96-86 win on Nov. 20 in Minneapolis. Drummond led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds, scoring 15 in the third quarter.

The Pistons have given up an average of 104.7 points in the last three while scoring 96.3 points. That fits with a season-long pattern, as the Pistons are 14-2 when scoring at least 97.

The Pistons are 10-4 when holding teams to 45.1 percent shooting or worse. Each of their opponents during the skid has gone above that number, shooting a combined 49.6 percent.

Kevin Martin has sat out the past four games for Minnesota as the team continues shopping him around.


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