Pistons’ rally falls short, Wolves take win
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — It took almost three full seasons, but the Minnesota Timberwolves finally won a game in April.
Nikola Pekovic scored 23 points and J.J. Barea flirted with a triple-double to help the Timberwolves to a 91-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. The win was the franchise’s first in the final month of the regular season since 2009 — breaking a 27-game losing streak.
“We finally got a win,” said Berea, who finished with 13 points, 12 assists and six rebounds to help Minnesota snap an 11-game overall losing skid. “We had a lot of energy and we moved the ball well.”
The Timberwolves never trailed and took a 49-31 halftime lead after shooting 57 percent (21 of 37) from the field. An 8-0 run pushed the lead to over 20 points midway through the third quarter but the Pistons rallied in the fourth to make it close.
Tayshaun Prince had 18 points and Will Bynum scored all of his 17 in the fourth quarter for the Pistons, who lost for the second time in as many nights.
“Except for parts of the fourth quarter it was pretty good,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “We just want to see if we can turn this around in the last two games and end the season on a positive note.”
Pekovic made five of his first six shots to start the game and had 13 points in the first half to pace the Wolves, who hadn’t won since March 28, at Charlotte. He finished with nine rebounds.
The Pistons ended the first quarter by missing 10 straight field goals and shot just 29 percent in the first half. The 31 first-half points were one off their worst halftime output this season.
Detroit trailed 78-55 with less than 8 minutes to play but outscored the Wolves 19-3 over the next 6 minutes to cut the lead to seven points. Pekovic had a putback and dunk in the last 90 seconds to end the rally and force the Pistons to foul.
Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, who called Wednesday’s lackluster 116-84 loss at Atlanta “unacceptable,” wasn’t much happier with most of the next night’s effort.
“We looked a little punch drunk at times out there,” he said after his team’s starters shot a combined 16 of 50 from the field.
Ben Gordon scored 14 points for the Pistons and fellow reserve Charlie Villanueva grabbed 12 rebounds.
Anthony Randolph had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Michael Beasley added 13 points for the Wolves, who finish the season with two home games.
NOTES: Adelman said All-Star C Kevin Love (concussion/neck strain) might return for the team’s final two games if he is cleared by doctors. Love, who left an April 11 game at Denver after a hard fall, was scheduled to undergo tests Thursday. . Pistons F Ben Wallace did not play Thursday to attend a funeral. . Minnesota’s last April win was April 8, 2009, at Golden State.