Player grades from Timberwolves’ home win over Detroit Pistons

Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell had a strong game in his return from injury as the Wolves defeated the Detroit Pistons. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell had a strong game in his return from injury as the Wolves defeated the Detroit Pistons. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves stretched their winning streak to four games and climbed to three games above the .500 mark with a double-digit win over the Detroit Pistons.

Timberwolves use balanced attack to beat Pistons, win fourth straight

The Timberwolves continue to take advantage of a soft spot in their schedule as they defeated the Detroit Pistons for the second consecutive time.

The start of the game was a bit on the sloppy side, as the Wolves’ offense couldn’t get going and the defense was porous. Thankfully, the Pistons weren’t shooting the ball well, either, and took just a two-point lead into the second quarter.

The Wolves bench played well in their first stint, helping the Wolves build a multi-possession lead before the starters began to reenter the game.

The bigger issue was the defense, which allowed too many open 3-point attempts to the likes of Saddiq Bey and Cory Joseph, and was continually beaten on the glass on both ends of the floor. The Pistons pulled down 14 offensive rebounds for the game and shot the ball much better than Minnesota in the paint. It was a one-point Pistons lead at the break.

The Wolves played a strong third quarter, bucking a season-long trend of struggling immediately after halftime. Malik Beasley continued what was strong first half with hot shooting when he came back into the game, and Karl-Anthony Towns began to make life miserable for the Pistons when they chose to single-cover him.

The Wolves bench again played extremely well, as Jaden McDaniels and Jordan McLaughlin supplemented Beasley’s impressive shooting (and rebounding!) display with strong performances themselves.

McDaniels had a stirring fourth-quarter stretch that included a pair of corner 3-pointers sandwiched around a jump-out-of-your-seat, left-handed block on the defensive end of the floor. Patrick Beverley set the tone for a suddenly aggressive Wolves defense in the second half, and the Wolves only allowed 49 points in the second half.

The Pistons hung around due to the return of some sloppy play on offense for the Wolves, but things never seemed to be truly in question in the fourth quarter.

Player grades from Timberwolves’ home win over Detroit Pistons

Let’s hand out a few player grades from the Timberwolves’ win over the Pistons.

Malik Beasley: A

20 points (7-15 FG, 5-9 3P, 1-2 FT), 9 rebounds, one assist, one steal

Beasley was fantastic, looking much more like the player who landed the large contract extension last offseason than the shell of himself that he’s been for much of the current season.

Beasley was on fire early, knocking down three 3-pointers in rapid succession in the first half. He got hot again in the third quarter, adding a couple of impressive drives to the basket that included a rim-rattling dunk. He was impactful on the glass in a game in which the Wolves genuinely needed him.

Karl-Anthony Towns: A

24 points (11-18 FG, 2-3 3P), 12 rebounds, 2 assists, one block

This was a bit of an odd, yet extremely effective, game from Towns. He somehow attempted 15 2-point shots but was granted zero trips to the free throw line. Towns also only attempted three 3-3-pointers on the night.

The Pistons tried guarding him one-on-one with Isaiah Stewart for much of the afternoon, and the results were predictable. Towns was again a willing passer when the defense loaded up on him, but he only had two assists — and three turnovers — to show for it.

Still, he was again reliable defensively and continues to show up more and more in the rebounding column. Towns is having one of the best all-around stretches of his career to this point.

D’Angelo Russell: A-

22 points (7-18 FG, 3-7 3P, 5-5 FT), 8 assists, 5 rebounds, one steal

Russell returned from a four-game absence due to a shin contusion. He looked a little rusty at the start of the game but quickly shook much of it off, returning to his recent form of having complete control over the Wolves’ offense.

He picked apart the Pistons, both in the half-court and in transition. DLo threw multiple on-point passes to backdoor cutters, including no-look dimes leading to dunks. He was masterful in the pick-and-roll and picked his spots to attack.

Russell only committed one turnover in 30 minutes and was good enough defensively in the second half to help the Wolves maintain their lead.

Why the Wolves should not acquire Marcus Smart. dark. Next

The Wolves head back out on the road after the pitstop at Target Center, flying out to Sacramento to take on the Kings twice in 24 hours coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday.