The Minnesota Timberwolves hoped to avoid closing out the 2022 calendar year on the crest of their longest and most devastating losing streak. This team had lost five consecutive games to some of the better teams in the NBA. But the final game of 2022 was scheduled against the Detroit Pistons (9-29), and the hope for a flourish by the Timberwolves roster to turn the corner and enter the new year of 2023 on the heels of a win was rising.
Until the Detroit Pistons arrived to play at Target Center, that is.
It was a familiar tale. The Minnesota Timberwolves opened the game with a hot hand, jumping out to a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the Timberwolves had increased the lead to 14 points, and judging by the records of both, the game would deliver on the hope for the Timberwolves, a team that was desperate for a win.
But the Timberwolves have played this script all too often. The Minnesota Timberwolves opened the second half with no energy, and the Pistons seemed to want it more. Nothing fell for the Timberwolves, and everything seemed to fall for the Pistons. By the end of the third quarter, the Pistons had overcome the seemingly insurmountable lead and tied up the score.
Bad bench. Bad bad bench.
The Timberwolves bench, typically a strength for the team, completely fell apart for the team in this one. The Pistons bench delivered 65 points to buoy their team to a win, but the Minnesota Timberwolves bench was only able to deliver 20 points.
The Timberwolves backcourt duo of D’Angelo Russell (25 points, 5 assists) and Anthony Edwards (30 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds) led the team once more. It was Edwards’s second consecutive 30-point game. But it’s clear as day that when a struggling Pistons team can beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in Target Center, despite Edwards scoring 30 points, this team needs the injured players back in this lineup.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost their sixth consecutive game, and have fallen to a record of 16-21. and appear more and more likely to be under-.500 when the NBA Trade Deadline arrives on February 9, 2023. That unfolding scenario could translate into the Timberwolves becoming net sellers at the trade deadline.