The best recipe for a W: home game after a nice break, great offense, solid second half defense, and playing one of the worst teams in the NBA (usually) equals sweet, yummy, success.
Tied at the half 52-52, the Pistons outscored Minnesota 56-33 in the final two quarters. The Pistons scored as many points in the 3rd quarter as the T-Wolves put up in the second half, building a 20 point lead heading into the fourth and allowing the Pistons to coast the rest of the way. The 33 points the Pistons put up in the third was the first time they've scored 30+ points in the third quarter this season.
The Pistons were constantly making that one extra pass on offense to create the easiest shot opportunity, which was why the Pistons had 60 points in the paint and "at least 13-to-15 dunks" (Kelser's words) -- and some of the dunks would have scored higher than what we saw this past Saturday.
There were also Daye, Kwame, and Wilcox sightings - each seeing at least five minutes in the fourth.
Ball movement FTGDMFW. 37 (!) team assists allowed the Pistons to get open looks and shoot 54% for the game. Will Bynum dished out a career high 14.
This man set the tone early (maybe I should use this picture whenever I really want to emphasize how awesome he is/was). He scored 13 points in the first quarter and it probably would have been more if it weren't for foul trouble. He still finished with a team-high 21 points on 9-13 shooting, three rebounds, and two steals.
Not a whole lot of bad, but I still expect more from Ben Gordon. 4-11 (0-3 from three) and eight points is not that.
Speaking of threes, Charlie V was just 1-6 from downtown -- a nice portion of the reason why the Pistons were just 22% as a team from beyond the arc. When he and Ben Gordon were on the floor together, I saw more set plays for CV behind the arc than BG. That should never happen.
The Zeljko Rebraca Unsung Hero:
Tayshaun Prince played a team-high 31 minutes and made the most of every single minute. He was a team-best plus-34 in plus-minus (according to ESPN), had 11 points on 5-8 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, and had three assists. He's averaging 17 points and 4+ rebounds over the last three games -- perfect timing because there's a certain deadline on Thursday at 3 PM EST.
Jason Maxiell had a team-high 10 rebounds and six points in 24 minutes. That's nine points and 15 rebounds per 36 minutes. He's averaging 15 points and 12.5 rebounds per 36 over the last four games. Sniff. Sniff.
Will Bynum career high in assists was a little on the quiet side, too.
The Timberwolves are the worst team in the Western Conference, but there's no denying how well the Pistons played on the offensive side of the ball tonight. They moved the ball tremendously well and were actually executing set plays on a consistent basis. 37 assists and 54% shooting is going to give any team a pretty good chance at winning, especially against the Timberwolves.
I guess we'll see if this was more a product of the T-Wolves being in town or the Pistons actually playing better together after the All-Star break, when the Pistons travel to Orlando for a game with the Magic tomorrow night. /Sigh.
Any way you want to look at the season, these wins are nice because at least we know the Pistons don't need to climb out from the very bottom of the pits of bad.