What: Detroit Pistons vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
When: 6:00 p.m., FSD
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills Auburn Hills, MI
The Detroit Pistons have three games left before the All-Star break and it starts against a Minnesota Timberwolves squad that has had the Pistons number recently. Minnesota has won the last nine matchups with the Pistons and that’s a streak Detroit will be looking to end tonight. Let’s look at how the Pistons can pull out the win in this one.
1.) Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic has been a thorn in the Pistons’ side in recent years. He averaged 17.5 points and 7 rebounds in the two games against Detroit last year and he had 17 and 10 in a 97-91 win over the Pistons back on October 30th. Andre Drummond will have to do a better job on the big man and Greg Monroe, who was suspended for the first matchup between the teams, will also have to offer some resistance against Pekovic. Having Monroe for this matchup will be huge as he offers a different dynamic that Minnesota didn’t see last time. Monroe is also coming off his first career 20-20 game with a career high 21 rebounds in Friday’s win over the Nuggets. Containing Pekovic will go a long way in getting a win for Detroit.
2.) Obviously the Pistons are a different and better team than they played Minnesota back in October. They had a certain someone shoot 5/16 and commit 3 turnovers and they didn’t have Monroe or Jodie Meeks. The Pistons have a better understanding of Stan Van Gundy’s offense than they did back in October and the chemistry is better. They’ll have to continue the way they played against Denver to win this one. That means defending and hustling on every possession. If Detroit wants to make the playoffs, they can’t lose to the Timberwolves. They have to take care of business and get it done.
3.) Andrew Wiggins is as dynamic as they come and is beginning to better understand the NBA game. He’s averaging 17.2 points and is shooting 42.9% from deep in the last 5 games. It’ll be up to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to step up to the challenge, like he always does, and harass him all night long. Caldwell-Pope is the Pistons’ defensive stopper and it’ll be up to him. Detroit can win this game by defending Wiggins and Pekovic and make the other guys beat you. If Thaddeus Young or Zach LaVine go off then so be it.
Prediction: Pistons 109 Timberwolves 95