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Pistons vs Wolves preview: Detroit looks to go above .500

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Andre Drummond looks to keep his personal unbeaten streak over Karl-Anthony Towns

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by double digits last night, led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 41 points and 14 rebounds, which apparently has been par for the course from KAT of late:

However, the Wolves are 2-3 in those same 5 contests, including losses to the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. The Detroit Pistons have to take the Wolves seriously to come away with a win tonight, but the with a rest advantage and the way the Pistons have played of late, they should still come out on top.

Game Vitals:

When: March 6, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Det -5.5

Analysis:

The Wolves have been volatile this season. They started the year with the Jimmy Butler situation hanging over their heads - resolved that by trading Butler for Dario Saric and Robert Covington, then going on a small hot streak. Then, after that streak faded, head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau was dismissed, adding more confusion and turmoil.

Their point guard situation has been in flux; injuries to Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones elevated guys like Jerryd Bayless into the rotation. Derrick Rose cooled off (especially from three) after a Sixth Man of the Year-caliber start to the season. The jewel of the Butler trade, Robert Covington, has also been out with a bone bruise on his knee. Andrew Wiggins has not risen to meet the expectations his contract dictates, giving up pieces titled “The Sad Demise of Wiggins Island” that contain gems like this:

(Wiggins Island) is a barren wasteland that is almost as ugly as his shot chart for the year. Not everything is his fault: The Wolves have a collection of point guards who hold the ball for too long and a very basic offensive scheme. But Wiggins has had these problems now under four different coaches, and the real step back he has taken this year means that we should probably stop making excuses for him.

Ouch.

For the Pistons, on the other hand, the story is the same as it’s been for more than a month now: Reggie Jackson’s improved play has fed Andre Drummond’s improved play, Blake Griffin has still been productive but thankfully the Pistons need less out of him, and Luke Kennard’s shot-making has kept the bench level. Fortunately for Detroit, we have ZERO reason to think any of that winning formula changes tonight.

I will say that I still believe Blake should get a day off sometime soon, that his numbers in February weren’t as good as they were in January (but January was maybe the best month he’s had in a Pistons uniform, so the numbers were due to come down), and that even in the heat of a playoff race, his health is the single most important thing for this Pistons franchise. But it doesn’t sound like that’s coming anytime soon:

Just... think about it, Dwane. I beg of you.

Last but not least, KAT is really good and could single-handedly drag the Wolves to a win against any team on any night.

It’s just so happens that he’s never actually managed to drag the Wolves to a win against the Pistons and Andre Drummond on any night:

We’ve noted Andre’s improved play since his concussion at DBB, and with a tradition of punking KAT, Pistons fans should feel pretty good about his matchup tonight. Andre, of course, dropped this gem on KAT last time they played:

It’s funny because it went in! Otherwise, we would’ve Patrick Ewing’d Dre.

Projected Lineups:

Detroit Pistons (31-31):
Reggie Jackson, Wayne Ellington, Bruce Brown Jr., Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Minnesota Timberwolves (30-34):
Jeff Teague, Josh Okogie, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric, Karl-Anthony Towns

Prediction:

Detroit 119, Minnesota 108