Wolves tie team futility record
MINNEAPOLIS -- Charlie Villanueva scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Detroit Pistons to a 103-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in the season finale for both teams.
Tayshaun Prince added 20 points for the Pistons, who trailed by 16 points in the third quarter. With Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey and Chris Wilcox not in uniform, Villanueva hit three 3-pointers and five free throws in the final period to end a tough season on a high note.
Corey Brewer had 27 points and Al Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (15-67), who lost 29 of their final 31 games of the season to tie the franchise record for fewest victories in a season.
It was a snap shot the Wolves' season. Playing with energy, they raced out to a 16-point lead by sharing the basketball and dominating the glass. But they went 6:13 without a field goal in the fourth quarter to give away another one.
The game marked an end, finally, to a season filled with disappointment and losses for both teams. The Pistons (27-55) missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years. They haven't lost this many games since 1993-94 when they went 20-62.
The Timberwolves finished with the second-worst record in the NBA and tied the 1991-92 team for fewest victories in a season. Add the win totals together for the two teams, and it still wouldn't be enough to qualify for the Western Conference playoffs.
The Pistons were ravaged by injuries all season long, with players missing a combined 152 games due to injury entering their final game of the season. Hamilton, Gordon, Will Bynum and Wilcox have all had extended absences this year.
Prince kept the Pistons in this one, scoring 18 points in the first half. But he didn't get a whole lot of help early, especially on the defensive end.
With Kevin Love firing outlet passes from beneath his own basket, the Timberwolves got out in transition faster than they have all season long. Brewer had three dunks, including a double-clutch reverse for a 51-38 lead in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves shot 66 percent in the first half and had 20 assists on 25 made field goals, but all that efficiency went up in smoke in the fourth quarter.
Love did not play in the final period, and the Wolves faded again when another team made their run.
NOTES: Big Ben Wallace tried his second 3-pointer of the season in the third quarter and it wasn't pretty. Air ball. ... The plan is for Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions to remain in the Twin Cities for the next few days to work with Rambis on their jump shots. Rambis said he didn't want to tweak anything during the season and get them out of their comfort zones. ... Brewer played in all 82 games this season, the first time he's done that in his career.