Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince has scored 20 points in to-back contests but it hasn't been enough to lift his team to victory. Perhaps a third time will be a charm when Detroit takes on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Target Center.
Prince is averaging 10.5 points this season and has scored in double figures over the last four games. He delivered his second straight 20-point effort in Tuesday's 97-80 loss at Houston, while Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey added 18 and 16 points, respectively, in defeat.
"I think from an effort, energy, intensity and focus standpoint, I thought we were where we need to be," said Detroit coach Lawrence Frank. "If we can get that effort for 36 of 48 (minutes) and we focus on cleaning up our execution, we will get better."
Prince posted two steals for 400 in his career and needs one block for 400. Greg Monroe had only four points and grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds. The Pistons, who are last in the Central Division, have lost eight of their last nine games and fell to 1-6 as the visitor this season. They are averaging a league-low 85.0 points per game and have one of the worst records in the NBA at 3-11.
Minnesota has been playing well since an 0-3 start to the season, ripping off five wins over the last 10 games. The difference may not be eye-popping but the play of forward Kevin Love has been. Love has recorded a double-double in each of his first 13 games this season, averaging 25.6 points and 14.3 rebounds in that time.
Love tied Hall of Famer and former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon for the NBA's longest double-double streak to start a season (1992-93) with 33 points and 11 boards in Monday's 99-86 win versus Sacramento. Luke Ridnour added a season-high 25 points and Wayne Ellington scored 15 points off the bench for the Timberwolves, who snapped a three-game home losing streak and improved to 3-5 in the Twin Cities.
Wolves guard Jose Barea (ankle) has missed the past three contests and is listed as questionable for tonight's game. Forward Michael Beasley (foot sprain) hasn't played in the last six games and is out indefinitely, while Ridnour (personal) is questionable versus Detroit.
"Once we get everybody healthy ... we're very good," said Love, who is just one 30-point effort short of tying Kevin Garnett's franchise record of four in a row set from March 22-28, 2000. "We can surprise a lot of people. We just want to continue to get better."
Minnesota swept the home-and-home series with Detroit a year ago but has lost six of the past nine matchups with the Pistons.