October 25, 2017, 7:11 pm
One night after giving up 130 points on 67 percent shooting to the Pacers, the Timberwolves once again looked over-matched on defense, losing 122-101 to the Pistons. The Wolves started the game on a 9-0 run, but it fell apart after that. They let the Pistons shoot 52 percent and gave up 15 three-pointers at a 44 percent clip.
Towns, Wiggins and Teague all put up nice lines on offense, but were dreadful defensively. Teague stopped guarding Reggie Jackson at one point and let him take an open three-pointer. Wiggins was guarding a player who was already manned, and allowed Bradley to take an open three. Towns was having trouble with Drummond inside.
These were just a few mistakes that added up to another blowout. The Wolves’ expectations are very high this season, perhaps unfairly, but nonetheless if they want to reach those expectations, those three players need to step up defensively and not rely on Butler to do the dirty work.
Six players for Detroit scored in double figures, led by Tobias Harris who had 34 points and six 3-pointers. Andre Drummond finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. He was constantly looking ahead after rebounds, looking to make the outlet pass and start the fast break.
On the night, the Pistons scored 24 fastbreak points to the Wolves’ zero. Going forward, the Wolves need to clean this up. They have enough problems guarding in the half court, allowing teams to run all over them will compound those problems like the last two nights. Even going back to Sunday, this was a problem.
Karl-Anthony Towns was the leading scorer with 23 points and three 3-pointers, adding 10 rebounds, one assist and one block. Wiggins scored 21 points himself, with three rebounds, one assist and two steals. Teague had 18 points, six assists, two rebounds and a steal. No one else scored more than eight points.
Towns, Wiggins and Teague also combined for eight assists and 11 turnovers on the night.
This was another ugly loss for the Timberwolves and there really no two ways around it. The team has an off day tomorrow before a rematch with the Thunder on Friday. The hope is that Jimmy Butler can return for that game, but at this moment it’s still up in the air. It’s possible even if he plays, he won’t be 100 percent ready.
Overall, this team is still young and learning to play together. The Wolves have missed the playoffs for 13 straight years, and didn’t look any closer last season. These types of turn-arounds are incredibly tough to pull off for any team, even with all the talent they brought in this offseason.
Perhaps expectations were still too high, perhaps not. Going forward, these type of inconsistencies should be expected. Towns and Wiggins are still the main pieces of this team, and it’s clear they have a long road ahead, especially on the defensive end.
Sunday’s game was a taste of what this team can accomplish. These past two games were like a bucket of water thrown into their faces. In the end, it might all be for the better. The team needs to buy into the defensive concept together, not just let one guy do everything for them. Maybe these last two games serve as that reminder that sticks with them.