Timberwolves looking for another bench boost vs. Pistons

The Minnesota Timberwolves have demonstrated this week they can deliver a fearsome scoring punch from more than just three sources.

Minnesota has pushed past the .500 mark at 26-25 with a 20-point victory over Utah on Sunday, followed by a 130-115 blowout of Denver on Tuesday. The Timberwolves will play the Pistons twice in the next four days, beginning with a visit to Detroit on Thursday.

Normally, the Timberwolves rely on their Big Three of Karl-Anthony Towns (24.4 points per game), Anthony Edwards (22.3) and D’Angelo Russell (18.8). During their last two victories, their reserves produced 55 points against the Jazz and 68 against the Nuggets.

«It was a great feeling to see them balling the way they were (Tuesday), just up and down the roster. We did a great job of playing Timberwolves basketball,» Towns said. «Great defense. It was a great game for us to have tape of; it was a great game to build confidence.»

Taurean Prince led the second unit with 23 points against Denver. Three other reserves reached double figures — Malik Beasley (12), Naz Reid (12) and Jaylen Nowell (10).

Minnesota, which led by as many as 30, took command in the first half and had a 69-51 halftime advantage. The bench fueled a decisive 26-8 run spanning the first and second quarters.

«I think that group has a lot of confidence,» Prince said. «We just come in with confidence that we’re one of the best players on the floor. We feel like we can each start in this league. So, I think the fact that you have guys that feel highly about their game and actually put in the work on a daily basis. And then to see it all happen how it’s happening, it’s just a testament to the everyday work that we consistently put in.»

Towns had his usual output — 24 points — in 28 minutes while adding 10 rebounds and seven assists. But Edwards was limited to five points and Russell sat out for a third consecutive game due to a shin contusion.

«I think there is another level, multiple levels we can hit as a team with the talent we have and everything,» Towns said. «I love that everyone’s just bought into being the best basketball players they can be.»

Detroit will be playing the first game of a back-to-back, as it plays host to the Boston Celtics on Friday.

The Pistons will likely be without their prized rookie. Cade Cunningham exited their game against New Orleans on Tuesday during the third quarter with a right hip pointer.

Without him, they fell apart in the fourth quarter and lost 111-101. The Pistons were outscored 27-14 during the final 12 minutes.

«We got real stagnant,» guard Frank Jackson said. «We were rolling, and they just got us back on our heels and got a couple of easy ones. That was a tough one.»

Detroit forward Jerami Grant returned to action for the first time since undergoing thumb surgery in mid-December. He produced 17 points in 29 minutes.

«I think we were playing really well for the first 2 1/2 quarters,» Grant said. «We let up in the third quarter. Just got to finish games out how we started. I think we scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. Not enough points to win an NBA game.»

–Field Level Media