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Pistons vs. Timberwolves preview: Beware the resurgent Derrick Rose

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Rose might not be in MVP form, but he’s dangerous at every level

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

With a 132-105 home win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended a four-game skid (all on the road) and bumped their overall record up to 14-16 on the year. Unfortunately for the Pistons tonight, the Timberwolves are a different kind of animal when playing at home as their 12-4 record would suggest. Blake Griffin and the rest of the fellas must channel their inner Liam Neeson if they wish to tame these funny looking dogs and leave Minneapolis with a win.

Game vitals

When: December 19th, 2018 @ 8 p.m.
Where: Target Center; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis

If you haven’t been paying attention to Derrick Rose this year, you probably should. The former MVP is averaging 18.5 points per game (highest since 2011-12 season) and shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point land (3.3 attempts).

You know what? Good for him.

He’s (still) at his best when attacking the basket. From Detroit’s perspective, they must do everything in its power to discourage drives. As with most things basketball, it will be require a team effort. With an extra amount of intention, Maxi Kleber (below) could’ve prevented these Rose takes by playing the transition gap a bit better:

The Pistons must “show their length” (a Dwane Casey favorite) to deter such action because banking on Detroit’s guards to stop the ball — all by themselves — is a losing bet, especially against superior athletes such as Rose. For example, there is no reason for Glenn Robinson III not to be playing the gap:

Taking one or two steps over from GR3, while retreating, would’ve kept Russell Westbrook out of the lane. But, alas....

It’ll be a long night for DBB if the Pistons cannot control the middle.

***

Fourth-year stud Karl-Anthony Towns will look to mid-range Andre Drummond to death:

Per Cleaning the Glass, 41 percent of all KAT field goal attempts are of the mid-range variety. Over 21 points per game and shoots near 40 percent from deep. Yeah, he’s a handful.

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Wing Robert Covington came to Minnesota via the Jimmy Butler trade and quickly made his presence felt. This DPOY argument article will it explain it much better than I ever could.

***

Finally, give it up for Jon Leuer:

Congrats, Jon.

Lineup projections

Detroit:
Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Andre Drummond, Reggie Bullock, Blake Griffin

Minnesota:
Derrick Rose, Robert Covington, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson

As always, stay tuned to the GameThread for lineup and injury updates

Prediction

I’ve already put this one in the win column.

Pistons 104

Timberwolves 100