MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Minnesota Timberwolves look to rebound after a damaging defeat when they host the struggling Detroit Pistons on Friday. The Timberwolves' 12-point loss to New York on Wednesday, in the first of a four-game homestand, came after a promising 4-1 road trip that had them thinking about a playoff run. Despite losing eight of 10 and standing 13 games below .500, the Pistons are still only three games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 contests left.
The Timberwolves are barely hanging on in the race for the final playoff spot in the West after a poor start and finish against the Knicks.
"We can't give in to say this is a killer," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman told the Star Tribune. "We just have to go out and beat Detroit."
The Pistons must improve defensively to reach the playoffs, as they currently rank 26th in points allowed in the NBA and last in field goal percentage defense.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit-Plus, FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (24-37): Detroit has dropped seven straight on the road and begins a stretch of seven games in the next nine away from home after being outscored by 10 in the fourth quarter of a 105-94 loss to Chicago at home Wednesday. Point guard Brandon Jennings (16.6) leads the team in scoring but is averaging only seven points per game over the last six contests. Josh Smith (16.4) is second on the team and is putting up 20.8 points over the last six games while Greg Monroe recorded 27 on Wednesday.
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (30-30): Minnesota also needs to improve on the defensive end, where it yields 46.8 percent shooting from the field, which is among the worst in the league, and allowed New York to shoot 52.2 percent. Kevin Love leads the team in scoring (26.5) and rebounding (13.1), but struggled with his shot on Wednesday (6-of-17 overall) while scoring only one point in the second half. Kevin Martin (19.1), who made only 3-of-10 from the field against New York, and Nikola Pekovic (18) also highlight an offense ranked fourth in the league in scoring (106.2).
1. Minnesota has beaten the Pistons in seven straight meetings, including a 121-94 victory at Detroit on Dec. 10.
2. Detroit is tied for seventh in the league in rebounding margin, led by Andre Drummond's 13 boards per game.
3. Timberwolves F Shabazz Muhammad has scored in double figures in two of his last four games off the bench.