Love leads Wolves past Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Power forward Kevin Love piled up 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes as the Minnesota Timberwolves pounded the Detroit Pistons 121-94 on Tuesday night at The Palace.
Love, who missed the Timberwolves’ 103-82 loss to Miami on Saturday because of his grandmother’s death, sat out the fourth quarter of the blowout. Shooting guard Kevin Martin and center Nikola Pekovic supplied 18 points apiece for Minnesota (10-11), which has won seven straight against Detroit. Point guard Ricky Rubio contributed 15 points and nine assists.
The Timberwolves, who outscored Detroit 28-8 at the foul line and forced 20 turnovers, lost five of their last six coming into the game.
Point guard Brandon Jennings led the Pistons (10-12), who gave up a season high in points while losing their second straight, with 20 points and seven assists. Small forward Josh Smith added 17 points, but just one after the break and rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a career-high 16 points.
Pistons guard Chauncey Billups returned after a 14-game absence and chipped in seven points and five assists off the bench. Billups was sidelined with left knee tendinitis.
Martin scored 10 points during a 21-5 Timberwolves’ run in the second quarter that gave them a 62-47 lead. They were still up by 13, 64-51, at halftime.
Detroit never mounted a threat in the second half, trailing by double digits throughout.
Love, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the first half, kept the Timberwolves rolling by finding Rubio for a 3-pointer. Love’s 3-pointer with 7:34 left in the quarter made it 74-57. Martin’s back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third kept the advantage at 17.
Notes: Detroit’s last win over the Timberwolves was a 103-98 victory at Minnesota in the 2009-10 season finale. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond was averaging an NBA-high 5.2 offensive rebounds and had at least six in the past six games entering play Tuesday. Detroit coach Mo Cheeks, who played with prolific rebounders like Moses Malone and Charles Barkley, is even more impressed by Drummond’s ascent. “Those guys had offensive plays run for them, so they were probably closer to the rim,” Cheeks said. “We rarely run a play for Andre, and he’s still around the rim. He chases the ball and finds the ball.” ... Pistons guards Rodney Stuckey (knee) and Will Bynum (hamstring) were inactive. ... Minnesota began the night 0-5 when scoring fewer than 100 points and 0-9 when trailing after three quarters. ... Before Tuesday’s game, Minnesota SF Corey Brewer and SG Kevin Martin had a combined 33 dunks, 14 more than the remainder of the team.