The Detroit Pistons opened up the 2020-21 season with a deflating 111-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. One could say the Pistons outplayed the T-Wolves, having lead the entire game until Minnesota first claimed the lead with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Detroit built a 14-point lead in the second quarter spurred on by quality looks in the paint throughout the first half. They were unable to capitalize on that lead as they consistently sent the Timberwolves to the free throw line. Minnesota finished the game with 28 attempts from the charity stripe.
Killian Hayes made his NBA debut and looked nervous throughout the first half. He eventually calmed down and was able to see some shots fall in the third quarter and finished the game with seven points, three assists, and four turnovers. Two of those turnovers came late in the fourth quarter, which eventually lead to fast break dunks for the Timberwolves. Following those TOs, Casey elected to have Derrick Rose finish the game.
Casey goes to Rose after two turnovers from Hayes late in game. The other day, he talked about not just letting guys make a million mistakes and playing through it, the benefit of watching and learning. Hayes got his chance to close it.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 24, 2020
Rose had an impactful performance, he consistently pushed the ball in transition throughout the contest and found teammates for easy looks at the rim. Rose finished with 15 points on 7/13 from the floor and 6 assists.
Detroit generated a lot of quality looks throughout the game, they consistently pushed the pace in the fast break, which should be a staple for this team moving forward. Josh Jackson had an extremely efficient outing, he netted his first three three pointers, and was the recipient of the majority of those looks in the fast break. He chipped in 19 points, 6 boards, and 2 assists on 8/14 from the floor and 3/7 from three.
Also, major shoutout to Mason Plumlee who was the best player for Detroit in this game. Plumlee regularly got his teammates involved (6 assists) and converted on the majority of his looks in the paint (14 points on 7/8 shooting).
For Minnesota, they were lead by their two young stars in D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns. Russell came off the bench and scored 18 points in 33 minutes. Towns effectively navigated some foul trouble and still almost had a triple double, he punished the Pistons in the paint and hit a clutch three in the fourth quarter - he finished the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
There were a lot of positive takeaways from this performance for Detroit, even though this loss will be a bitter pill to swallow. Detroit generated some great looks in transition, and from the three point line although they didn’t convert those attempts from deep at a respectable clip.
Next up, the home opener on December 26th, where they’ll reunite with former Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond.