In one of the more consequential game for the Detroit Pistons’ long-term future in quite some time, the Minnesota Timberwolves won in a laugher, 119-100.
The loss for the Pistons drops them to 20-50 and puts them at least one full game clear of the third-worst record in the league with only two games remaining.
Minnesota was in control for much of the game, and the outcome was never really in doubt following a five-minute drought to close the second quarter until a pair of Killian Hayes free throws broke the streak before halftime.
The Timberwolves led by 22 at the half and Detroit never got even close to within striking distance the remainder of the game.
The Pistons’ offensive limitations were glaring tonight with its young roster. Josh Jackson turned the ball over nine times (leading the team to 28 total) and his backcourt partner in Hayes struggled off the dribble against the long Minnesota defense.
Hayes did get into the paint from time to time which produced 15 points and six assists, but the struggles that have defined most of his season were especially evident during Detroit’s many offensive droughts.
Saben Lee led the charge with 22 points and was really Detroit’s only consistent option to get into the paint off the dribble. The contrast between Lee’s quickness and tight handle and Hayes’ tentativeness was especially noticeable tonight and the key to Saben’s strong game.
Saddiq Bey added 21 points including another game with five or more makes from deep to extend his rookie record. Sekou Doumbouya started the game strong with eight early points and continued to look more comfortable in his role despite a slow finish to the night.
Defensively, Detroit simply had no answer for Minnesota’s athletic mismatches.
Anthony Edwards’ tantalizing talent was on full display in a night where Pistons were reminded of the type of offensive talent you can find at the top of the draft. The reigning number one pick scored 22 points on a wide-variety of moves, including a smooth as silk stepback jumper that drew comparisons to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant from Greg Kelser.
Karl-Anthony Towns set the tone early with his size and ability to space the floor. Towns drew two early first quarter fouls on Isaiah Stewart which set the tone for the entire game. His 28 points were a game high and looked effortless against a helpless Pistons defense.
Detroit continues to control their own destiny for the second-worst record in the league. The Pistons finish a long season with home games against the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat.