Coming off just their first win this month, the Detroit Pistons have another losing streak they would like to end when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday from The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Pistons, who are mired in a six-game losing streak at home, opened March with a season-worst 10 straight losses and stopped the bleeding with Saturday's 92-91 road decision over the Charlotte Bobcats. Charlie Villanueva's layup with 15 seconds left lifted the Pistons and he finished with 18 points.
After Bobcats guard Kemba Walker gave his team a 91-90 lead on a free throw with 31.6 seconds left, Villanueva missed on a 3-point attempt and Pistons forward Greg Monroe gathered the rebound before finding his teammate for a game-winning score. Villanueva had 14 points in the fourth quarter and needs 56 for 6,000 in his career.
"It felt really good to get a win after that losing streak we were on," Villanueva said. "We kind of got that monkey off our back. You could see how excited everyone was just to get that win."
Jason Maxiell added 14 points in the win, which saw the lead change hands nine times in the fourth quarter.
Detroit, which is allowing 98.9 ppg, is 15-21 at home this season and will also host Toronto on the quick residency. The last time the Pistons won back- to-back home games was versus Boston and Orlando from Jan. 20-22.
Minnesota is back on the road where it is only 8-27 this season and dropped a 104-97 home decision to the Chicago Bulls its last time out on Sunday.
Derrick Williams netted a game-high 28 points, while Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio scored 15 points apiece for the Timberwolves, losers in 13 of their last 17 games. Dante Cunningham delivered 10 points in defeat.
"We just didn't play hard enough at the start of the game. They got control of it. The second half, we picked it up, but it was too late. We shot decently, but they killed us on the boards," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said.
Adelman was alluding to the 52-32 difference on the glass. Minnesota lost for the first time this season when shooting at least 50 percent (10-1) and looks to improve on its 3-10 road ledger against teams from the East. The Wolves will play four games over the next five nights.
The Timberwolves, who will start a four-game homestand Wednesday versus Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, received some encouraging news on former All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Kevin Love. Love, who's been out since Jan. 3 with a fractured right hand, told the Wolves' website he is expected to be re-evaluated this week in hopes of returning soon.
Love, who still leads the team in scoring with 18.3 ppg despite playing only 18 games, said he is feeling back to normal and has been shooting with the team.
"I'm shooting the hell out of it ... I'm shooting a lot better," Love noted on the team's website. "It's back to how it used to feel."
That has to be easy on the ears for Love's teammates and coaches even though they're way out of playoff contention. His return, although a short one, can only make the core of the team better for a run in 2013-14. Love added that it will be up to the coaches on when he steps back on the hardwood.
"I know that I'm really fortunate that it's back to where it was," Love said. "Still getting a little bit of strength back, getting some tightness out of my hand. But When that scar tissue goes away, it will be 100 percent. But my hand at 80 or 90 percent really feels good."
Minnesota and Detroit are meeting for the first time this season and the Wolves took both matchups a season ago. The Timberwolves have won four in a row against the Pistons and four of six trips to The Palace.
The Pistons will visit Target Center on April 6.