November 19, 2017, 10:30 pm
Minnesota was playing a solid game through three quarters and looked to be on their way to a fourth straight victory. Perhaps the Wolves started to get ahead of themselves as well because in the fourth quarter the team looked like a completely different group out there.
The Pistons fell to their biggest deficit early in the fourth at 11 points. After a timeout they flipped the switch on offense going on a 27-13 run in the final 10 minutes. They finished with 29 points in the quarter and scored on nine straight possessions to close out the game.
Detroit put the ball into Reggie Jackson’s hands throughout the fourth and the Wolves couldn’t stop him. During the nine-possession scoring run, he mainly just ran pick-and-rolls with Andre Drummond with complete success. The Pistons targeted Towns and Teague, the two worst Wolves’ defenders, every trip down and it paid off for them.
Towns couldn’t decide whether to stay with Jackson or rotate back to Drummond, and Teague was slow in his recovery and it just created a bad situation.
Conversely the Wolves offense stalled, scoring only 17 in the quarter and 13 in the final 10 minutes. The ball movement slowed significantly and it looked more like the Wolves were playing to kill clock as opposed to a straight up offense.
It was a tight game late despite the run from Detroit. In the final two minutes the teams were tied or traded leads. Once again it was Reggie Jackson who put the Pistons on top late. Jackson scored or assisted on 19 of the final 21 points for Detroit.
With 20 seconds left he hit a step-back jumper to put his team up 98-95 and Minnesota was without a timeout.
The Wolves did have a chance to tie the game on multiple occasions. First Butler was fouled with six seconds left shooting a 3-pointer. After making his first two free-throws, the third rimmed out and the Pistons recovered. There was some controversy as it appeared Stanley Johnson stepped into the lane and interrupted Butler’s rhythm.
Butler said after the game that it didn’t affect the result, but he was not likely to blame anyone besides himself anyway.
Butler had another chance to tie the game after the made free throws from Detroit. He launched a 3-pointer as time expired and it rimmed out. It was a surprisingly good look. The Pistons really tried to hand the Wolves the game with mistakes late in the game, but they didn’t oblige.
Butler was the leading scorer for the Wolves with 26 points on an efficient 10-of-15 shooting. He made 2-of-5 3-pointers and 4-of-6 free throws, while pulling down 10 rebounds, four assists and five steals. Most of his damage came in the first half.
It was Wiggins’ show in the second half, scoring 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting with two rebounds, one assists, two steals and three blocks. He shot 0-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-4 from the line. He was aggressive taking it to the hoop and finished with ease.
Towns was ‘quiet’ for the second straight night with 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. He only took 13 shots on the night, a number that should be higher most of the time. He was often standing in the corner on offense trying to draw Drummond out of the paint and passing lanes, but it wasn’t working out as Drummond elected to leave him.
Overall it wasn’t a terrible game from the Wolves, if they hit a couple more 3-pointers or got one more stop late, they likely win. Unfortunately it’s been the little things that have plagued them all season.
Jamal Crawford left the game with migraines and is likely questionable for tomorrow’s game, so Thibs elected to stick with his starting unit most of the way. That could turn out to be tough on the players tomorrow with a road back-to-back.