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Game Preview #42: Wolves at Pistons

The Timberwolves look to get revenge on the Pistons while attempting to extend their winning streak to five straight on Wednesday in Detroit.

Detroit Pistons v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

What to Watch for

Second Crack at the Pistons

Wednesday’s matchup is the second and final battle between Minnesota and Detroit this season, with the first game taking place on New Year's Eve in Minneapolis which featured an ugly showing by the Wolves resulting in 116-104 win for the Pistons.

As for how these two teams stack up coming into Wednesday, the Wolves are a superior team offensively while ranking 12th in the league with 114.7 points per game, also holding the third-best shooting percentage in the NBA (49.1%) along with ranking 11th in team assists (25.4). Detroit has struggled offensively all season long, ranking 24th in the NBA in points per game (111.8) while sitting in the bottom half of the league in field goal percentage (27th with 45.2%), assists (27th with 22.3) and turnovers (17th with 14.9).

Detroit Pistons v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Minnesota is also a better team on the defensive end of the floor compared to Detroit, holding a defensive rating of 112.4 (tied for 13th in the NBA) while ranking sixth with 8.1 steals per game and seventh with 5.3 blocks a contest. Detroit comes into the contest with a defensive rating of 118.1, which is the second-worst mark in the league.

Health will be something to keep an eye on entering Wednesday’s game, with Anthony Edwards questionable with left hip soreness, and Jordan McLaughlin (left calf strain) and Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain) still out for the Wolves. The Pistons could be without Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf soreness), who hurt Minnesota in the first contest and is probable entering Wednesday’s game. Detroit will already be without Marvin Bagley III (right hand fracture), Cade Cunningham (left tibia fracture) and others who will remain inactive.

What Happened in the First Game?

In the first matchup between the two squads on Dec. 31, the Wolves had one of their worst performances of the year resulting in an extension of their losing streak to six straight. Minnesota hasn’t lost since that defeat, riding a four-game winning streak ahead of the rematch. On the other spectrum, Detroit has lost four of five games including three straight since that game.

In that first game, the Wolves jumped out to an early lead while looking to be on their way to taking care of business at home against an inferior team, carrying a 14-point lead into halftime. Out of the break, Detroit took it to Minnesota to come back and pull off the upset at Target Center.

Despite the disappointing loss — to put it lightly — the Wolves saw strong contributions from Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell in the first contest against Detroit. Edwards led with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Russell added 25 points and five assists to lead Minnesota. Outside of that, the Wolves didn’t have much to take away from that loss.

Detroit was led by Bojan Bogdanović with 28 points, six assists and five rebounds, but perhaps the biggest reason for the win came the contributions from its bench. All five Pistons players who entered the game off the bench finished in double figures to outscore Minnesota’s second unit 65-20.

Can the Wolves Stay Hot?

Minnesota has been one of the streakiest teams in the NBA over the last month-plus, riding multiples highs and lows since the beginning of December. Currently, the streak is a positive one of a four-game winning streak.

The Wolves opened December winning two straight, followed by a three-game skid, a three-game winning streak and a six-game losing streak that led up to the current four straight victories.

Detroit Pistons v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Pistons, on the other hand, have struggled basically all season long while sitting as the bottom team in the Eastern Conference having gone 3-7 over the last 10 games.

The good news for Minnesota is it has floated around the .500 mark on the road this season, carrying a record of 8-12 away from home. Detroit has struggled on its home court, holding a record of 5-14 at home.

Injury Report

Minnesota Timberwolves


  • Anthony Edwards — Left Hip Soreness


  • Luka Garza — Two-Way Contract
  • Jordan McLaughlin — Left Calf Sprain
  • Josh Minott — G League
  • Wendell Moore Jr. — G League
  • Karl-Anthony Towns — Right Calf Strain

Detroit Pistons


  • Bojan Bogdanovic — Left Calf Soreness
  • Isaiah Livers — Right Shoulder Sprain


  • Marvin Bagley III — Right Hand Fracture
  • Buddy Boeheim — Two-Way Contract
  • Cade Cunningham — Left Tibia Fracture
  • Jalen Duren — Right Ankle Soreness
  • Jared Rhoden — Two-Way Contract
  • Isaiah Stewart — Left Shoulder Soreness