Timberwolves-Pistons Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 25, 2013
After avoiding their longest losing streak in three years, the Detroit Pistons are hoping to end their longest home skid in more than 12. In order to accomplish that feat Tuesday night, they'll have to snap a four-game slide against a Minnesota Timberwolves team seeking its first back-to-back road wins in more than a year. Detroit (24-47) dropped its previous 10 games by an average of 17.2 points before finally putting an end to the skid with a 92-91 victory at Charlotte on Saturday. Reserve Charlie Villanueva stepped up with the go-ahead layup with 15 seconds left and scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead the way against the league-worst Bobcats. The Pistons, who are one game ahead of Cleveland for last place in the Central Division, stopped their longest drought since losing 11 straight March 13-April 3, 2010. "It felt really good to get a win after that losing streak we were on," said Villanueva, who shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range. "We kind of got that monkey off our back." Now the Pistons hope to end a six-game skid at home, their longest since dropping eight in a row Dec. 30, 2000-Feb. 2, 2001. They appear to have a decent opportunity to make that happen against the Northwest Division-worst Timberwolves, who snapped a nine-game road losing streak with a 117-86 win over Phoenix on Friday. Minnesota (24-44), which hasn't won consecutive road contests since March 2012, fell behind by 13 at the half Sunday en route to a 104-97 home loss to Chicago. "We have to learn to do it first. You can't let them dominate the game from the start and get a feel for how the game is going to go," coach Rick Adelman said. Derrick Williams broke out of his slump with a career high-tying 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting against the Bulls. The second-year forward had averaged 8.0 points while missing 21 of 30 shots over his previous three games. Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Ricky Rubio added 15 and eight assists. Pekovic led the way with 23 points and nine boards in a 91-80 victory in the last meeting in Detroit on April 19. Minnesota averaged 90.6 points on 40.9 percent shooting over eight road games before putting up a season-high point total while hitting 53.2 percent from the field Friday. The Timberwolves shot 50.0 percent Sunday, and they'll look to continue that efficiency against a Detroit team had been struggling defensively before its win over the Bobcats. Detroit allowed an average of 111.8 points on 54.7 percent shooting over its prior six contests before limiting Charlotte to 41 points in the second half and 42.7 percent shooting overall. Greg Monroe, leading the Pistons with 15.8 points per game, hopes to bounce back after finishing with six points on 2-of-11 shooting. He had totaled 40 points and 22 rebounds while shooting 18 of 29 in his previous two games. While they are close to the bottom of the NBA with 21.1 assists per game, the Pistons recorded their second-highest total of the season with 31 against the Bobcats. Minnesota, which is 8-27 away from home, has won two straight and four of six on the road in this series.
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