Dec 1, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) receives congratulations from small forward Josh Smith (6) in the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit won 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 21 Preview: Wolves (9-11) @ Pistons (10-11)

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Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons are coming fresh off losses to the Miami Heat. The Wolves’ 103-82 loss Saturday night is a little more stale as Detroit fell 110-95 on Sunday, but both losses dropped each squad to eleven on the season. ANALYSIS!!!

Anyway…

It’s hard to consider the Wolves recent struggles as recent. I mean, after missing last Wednesday’s game in Mexico City and Kevin Love for the loss to the Heat — is it easier to regard it as a week off? We’ll see.

Pistons probable starting lineup:

PG Brandon Jennings

SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

SF Josh Smith

PF Greg Monroe

C Andre Drummond

The Andre Drummond coming out party has been something to behold. The second-year pro has put up over 18 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks on over 63% shooting (on over 11 shots a night) in 32 minutes a game over the Pistons last five games. The kicker is Drummond has shot over 45% from the line (on 8 attempts a night) — which actually is an improvement over his 38% on the season and 37% career marks from the free throw line. What I’m trying to say is: Drummond is arriving or arrived. (The Pek smash could be massive.)

The bitter tears Wolves fans will withhold from crying while KCP takes on Martin could be short-lived as Rodney Stuckey is set to return from a knee injury.

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

The big news item whenever Jennings and Rubio would face each other used to be that Jennings didn’t get the pre-draft fuss over Rubio during workouts. Maybe it was just a product of grasping at straws to find a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks interesting, but the matchup’s profile is actually an interesting contrast in styles.

Jennings did his part to downplay the issue years ago, so I’m probably just noting the subplot for no reason. I should note Jennings is averaging 8.1 assists this season, 2 over his career average, while still shooting below 40% from the field on over 15 shots a night.

The sometimes insightful and always loquacious Bill Simmons had much to say about the Pistons position in his Eastern Conference column last week. My favorite bits…

So far, Josh has made 13 of 46 “long 2s” and 24 of 89 3-pointers … which means he’s made 37 of 135 shots from more than 15 feet (about 27 percent). Keep in mind, ALL OF THESE SHOTS ARE WIDE OPEN BECAUSE NOTHING MAKES AN NBA OPPONENT HAPPIER THAN THE SIGHT OF JOSH SMITH SHOOTING FROM 15 FEET OR MORE. And you know what else? I can’t totally blame Josh here. He’s playing out of position and teams leave him open. It’s like a Jedi mind trick.

It’s not like Corey gets a night off here, at all, but the potential run-outs Brew could get on J-Smoove misses are larger than normal this evening. Tip is early because Leastern Conference.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Detroit Pistons Josh Smith Kevin Love Kevin Martin Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Pregame Preview Ricky Rubio

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