Wolves fall to Pistons
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rasheed Wallace tied a season high with 25 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 98-89 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Allen Iverson added 19 points and Antonio McDyess had 14 points and 10 boards off the bench for the Pistons, who snapped a two-game losing skid with a gritty victory over an improving Timberwolves team.
Al Jefferson had 24 points and six rebounds for the Wolves, who entered the night with the best record (10-2) in the NBA in January and a three-game winning streak.
Rookie Kevin Love had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but Minnesota had no answer for Wallace most of the game.
Too big for Love and Craig Smith and a bit too quick for Jefferson, Wallace got his shot nearly whenever he wanted it. He scored seven straight points -- two free throws, a fallaway jumper and a 3-pointer -- for Detroit during a 13-3 run to close out the game.
Minnesota led by 11 points with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter after an 11-2 run.
But Wallace threw down a weak side dunk and then hit a 3-pointer from the wing to help the Pistons close the period with a 13-3 spurt to make a game of it going into the fourth.
After Iverson hit one of his trademark floaters in the lane and Rodney Stuckey scored on another drive to the hoop, Detroit cut the lead to 84-83 with just under five minutes to go before Wallace took over.
It was his 11th double-double of the season. He had 10 all last season.
This was the first meeting between the teams since a hallmark moment for both squads on Nov. 23 at The Palace. That's when a struggling Minnesota team came to Detroit and embarrassed the Pistons with a 106-80 romp for just their third win of the season.
The Wolves won once in the 15 games following that victory, but have turned things around in 2009 behind new coach Kevin McHale, Jefferson and Randy Foye.
The Pistons, meanwhile, are still searching for their swagger under first-year head coach Michael Curry. Still trying to figure out how best to utilize Iverson since acquiring him in a trade with Denver in November, they have looked nothing like the team that has advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for six straight years.
Iverson was vocal in his disappointment for watching most of the fourth quarter from the bench as the Pistons lost at home to Houston.
He played the entire fourth quarter on Wednesday night and scored nine points in the period.
NOTES: Before the game, McHale called it a "travesty" and "utterly ridiculous" that Love was not named to the rookie team for the NBA for the NBA rookie challenge at All-Star weekend. ... Both teams have some tough games coming up. Minnesota hosts the Lakers on Friday before heading to Boston on Sunday. Detroit has the Celtics and Cleveland at home this weekend.