It wasn’t always pretty, but the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to defeat the Detroit Pistons on the road on Thursday night.
Malik Beasley, Taurean Prince lead Timberwolves to win over Pistons
The Timberwolves left Target Center with good vibes after a dominant win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday for a one-game road trip against the 12-win Detroit Pistons at Little Caesers Arena.
Given this team’s track record, they should have been on their guard for a potential letdown. Indeed, it was a bit dicey at times before the Wolves pulled away in the final minutes.
The Wolves dominated the opening minutes of the game, but suddenly, the offense became sloppy and the defense was non-existent. The Pistons got what they wanted offensively, and ultimately took a one-point lead into the second quarter.
The rest of the first half was more the same, and the home team led by two at the break.
The third quarter, however, was ruled by the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns came to life after a relatively quiet first half, and his performance was supported by the still piping-hot Taurean Prince off the bench. Malik Beasley was fantastic as well, dropping 18 points in just 20 minutes of play.
The Wolves’ lead ballooned to as many as 16 midway through the fourth quarter, but an extended Pistons run — buoyed, of course, by a porous Wolves defensive unit — cut the lead to five points on a couple of separate occasions, including with just under a minute to play in the game.
But a pair of blocks from Towns and a tough stepback 3-pointer from Patrick Beverley on the other end pushed the lead back up to eight with just 29 seconds to play, and that was that for the Pistons’ attempted comeback.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ road win over the Detroit Pistons
Let’s take a look at a few player grades from the Wolves’ win over the Pistons.
Taurean Prince: A
23 points (8-13 FG, 5-6 3P, 2-2 FT), 6 rebounds, one assist, one steal
Prince had his second consecutive 23-point performance, scoring in double-figures for the fourth consecutive game and making at least five 3-pointers for the second straight contest.
It’s hard to overstate just how good Prince has played in the wins over Denver and Detroit this week; he’s scored both in catch-and-shoot situations and off the dribble, doing things that Wolves fans haven’t seen him do all season long.
Malik Beasley: A-
18 points (6-9 FG, 4-5 3P, 2-2 FT), 2 assists, one rebound, one steal, 20 minutes
Beasley had another strong game. He had a confident, hair-trigger release from the perimeter in this one. He’s only slightly docked for the single rebound and some poor point-of-attack defense — but he wasn’t alone as a culprit when it comes to the latter.
with the trade deadline now less than a week away, it will be interesting to see if his recent improved play simply makes him a more attractive trade asset for the Wolves, or if it solidifies the chances that he stays put in the Twin Cities as a valuable depth piece and bench scoring option for Chris Finch.
Karl-Anthony Towns: B+
21 points (6-15 FG, 0-4 3P, 9-10 FT), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers
This was a solid if unspectacular Towns performance. The 21 and 14 are nice, but Towns missed all four of his 3-point attempts and managed to turn the ball over five times, including a couple of extremely careless miscues.
Still, he was good in the third quarter as the Wolves pulled away and massive on defense in the final minutes, swatting away a pair of Pistons shot attempts that could have cut the Wolves’ lead to a single possession.
Anthony Edwards: B-
25 points (9-21 FG, 2-9 3P, 5-5 FT), 3 rebounds, one assist, one steal
Edwards turned in a quiet team-leading 25 points. He took some questionable perimeter jumpers in the first half but eventually settled in, making enough shots to keep this from being a truly poor performance.
Still, only three rebounds and one assist in 34 minutes is not ideal, and he turned in some genuinely shoddy defense to go along with it.
The Wolves have Friday and Saturday off once again and will head back home to take on these same Detroit Pistons at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Target Center.