Pistons, Timberwolves tangle at Target Center
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves looked competitive in the post-Kevin Love era and will try to get a taste of victory Thursday in their home opener versus the Detroit Pistons at Target Center.
The Timberwolves dealt the face of their franchise to the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer and now Love is a teammate of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Rookie and top pick Andrew Wiggins and last year's No. 1 overall selection Anthony Bennett were sent to the Timberwolves by Cleveland and Thaddeus Young came over in the deal from Philadelphia. Young played 34 minutes and scored a team-high 26 points in Wednesday's 105-101 loss at Memphis.
Mo Williams and Bennett scored 18 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench, while Wiggins ended with six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 18 minutes.
"I learned a lot ... it was fun for me," Wiggins said of his debut.
Minnesota had 23 turnovers and a 47-33 advantage on the glass. Seven turnovers came off the hands of Ricky Rubio, who had 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Rubio is playing for a big contract this season.
Nikola Pekovic and Corey Brewer combined for 11 points.
T-Wolves head coach Flip Saunders began his second stint with the team after taking over for the retired Rick Adelman. Saunders guided Minnesota to eight playoff appearances from 1995-2005 and also works in the front office.
The Wolves have won their last two home openers and will host Chicago Saturday. They hope Kevin Martin can bounce back from a balky ankle, an injury sustained this week in practice. Martin played in 68 games last season with the Wolves, his first with the team, and averaged 19.1 ppg.
Detroit dropped an 89-79 decision at Denver on Wednesday in the debut of head coach and president of operations Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons were competitive for the first three quarters until the Nuggets came alive in the final stanza with a 24-16 scoring advantage.
J.R. Smith scored 25 points, D.J. Augustin had 15 off the bench and Andre Drummond ended with 11 points and nine rebounds. The Pistons were without power forward Greg Monroe, who is serving a two-game suspension for driving while visibly impaired. Monroe averaged 15.2 points and recorded 35 double- doubles in 2013-14.
The Pistons struggled from 3-point range and made only 6-of-26 from downtown. They shot 36.9 percent for the game. Brandon Jennings was held to four points in just under 20 minutes of play.
"We just never got into any flow offensively," Van Gundy said.
After this trip to the Twin Cities, the Pistons will play four in a row at home versus Brooklyn, New York, Milwaukee and Utah.
Minnesota has beaten Detroit eight straight times by an average of 13.6 ppg and is undefeated in the past four matchups at Target Center. Jennings averaged 18.5 points against the Timberwolves last season and Martin posted an average of 21.0 points against the Pistons.