The new look Timberwolves made their only appearance at Little Caesars Arena tonight. All-Star Jimmy Butler was inactive due to an upper respiratory infection, leaving Minnesota stars Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jeff Teague to pick up the slack.
It looked like Detroit would play from behind for the 4th time in 5 games when the Timberwolves hit shots early to make it 9-0 within the first few minutes. The Pistons responded quickly after a time out and reduced the deficit to 3 points by the end of the 1st quarter. Stanley Johnson’s 9 points were critical and kept the Pistons afloat as the offense found its rhythm.
Tobias Harris and the bench unit, led by Ish Smith, Langston Gallaway, and Henry Ellenson kept up the attack and built a double digit lead. Offensive rebounds, open 3 point looks, and cold Timberwolves shooting were the story as the Pistons outscored Minnesota 40-18 and led by as many as 20 late in the 2nd quarter.
Between the high energy of the Pistons on both ends, and with the Timberwolves shorthanded on the second night of a back to back, Detroit was able to sustain a double digit lead and finished with a 122-101 score for their biggest win of this young season.
Tobias Harris tied a career high with 34 points on 14-24 shooting. Avery Bradley had 20 points and 3 assists. Andre Drummond had his third straight double double with 15 points and 15 rebounds (7 offensive). Ish Smith added 13 assists off the bench. The Timberwolves were led by Karl Anthony-Towns who scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Jeff Teague had 18 points and 6 assists.
Notes: The Pistons improve to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 at home. Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy wore pink as part of Breast Cancer Awareness night. Former Mayor and Hall of Famer Dave Bing sat courtside. Fan favorite Boban Marjanovic is healthy but remains inactive. The Pistons head west and play the Clippers Saturday night at 10:30 PM at the Staples Center.