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Pistons 131, Wolves 114: Running Out of Gas in the Motor City

Let’s just say I’ve witnessed better 4th quarters in my young life.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed tonight’s matchup between the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves, you missed 36 minutes of really competitive (and fun!) professional basketball.

The other 12 minutes? Um...

The Pistons held a 90-88 lead after three quarters, primarily fueled by a 20-2 differential in points off turnovers. The Wolves countered with their two franchise players (Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins), who combined for 39 points on 49% shooting through the first three frames. Jeff Teague added in 15 points and 8 assists during his first 26 minutes.

All of that early and efficient production was null and void, as the home team stormed out of the gates early in the fourth quarter, ballooning their lead and never looking back. While connecting on 11 consecutive shots to start the final frame was clearly an innovative strategy for Detroit, it was this egregious flagrant 2 on Taj Gibson just 90 seconds into the fourth quarter that really zapped the life out of the visiting Wolves:

Alternative angles of the incident show just how absurd the ejection truly was. The officials reviewed the play for what seemed like an entire weekend, ultimately deciding to eject Gibson (a decision that enraged young Ryan Saunders, who earned his first career technical foul — congrats Ryno!). The Wolves’ head coach wasn’t the only one to let his feelings be known about the atrocious call on poor Taj:

The end result of the entire situation was a 6-point possession for Detroit, which bumped their lead to 15. The final nail in the Wolves back-to-back coffin came just three minutes later, when Towns picked up two (absurd) fouls in six seconds, sending him to the locker room for an early shower as well. The final seven minutes were an absolute blur, and if you stayed tuned in to watch the whole thing, I award you 500 Canis points.

So what now? The Wolves have a few days off before hosting the Washington Wizards Saturday night at Target Center. While there’s no official word yet on whether or not Luol Deng and/or Robert Covginton will suit up, it’s the opinion of this blog boy that at least one of them will make their return to help slow down the scorching hot (and eventual Minnesota resident) Bradley Beal. *prayer hands emoji*

Full Game Highlights

Game Notes

  • Dario Saric had another “meh” performance Wednesday night, finishing the game with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes. I’m still a massive believer in Saric being the appropriate fit next to Towns in the front court, primarily due to his ability to make plays, defend, and his overall toughness. With that said, it would be truly refreshing for Dario to string together a handful of strong performances down the stretch to build up his confidence as we look towards the 2019-2020 season.
  • Andre Drummond, who poured in 31 points and 15 rebounds, banked in a wild three-pointer on a last-second heave to end the first quarter, marking his 10th made three of his career. The basket was also his 2nd career three against Minnesota, meaning that 20% of Drummond’s career threes have now come against the Timberwolves (because of course they have).
  • Tyus Jones finished the night with just one made basket in 20 minutes of play, the third time in four games that Stones has failed to connect on multiple made field goals. As Jim Petersen discussed during the broadcast, it’s imperative that Jones become more of a scoring threat on the offensive end if he wants to maintain (or increase) his role with the team going forward. Tyus does so many things that go unnoticed, but when his defender doesn’t respect his shot, his overall impact is severely negated.
  • If you’re looking for the REAL reason the Wolves lost tonight, look no further than this: