Timberwolves 94, Pistons 90, OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone from being a team with a losing record to one that’s tough to beat—especially in overtime— in the new year.
Since the Timberwolves closed 2006 with a 13-15 record, they have won seven of eight and are 4-0 in overtime this month. Their lone loss came by only a point.
“It’s huge that we’ve been through these games,” Davis said. “Everything is a little smoother because we know we can win them and we’ve been there a whole lot of times. They picked it up on us, but we came back.”
Blount’s 3-pointer—just his fourth of the year—beat the shot clock with 12.8 seconds left to give Minnesota a 92-88 lead.
“He had to shoot when he got the ball because of the shot clock, but give him credit for knocking it down,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.
Richard Hamilton, who scored 32 points, made free throws on the ensuing possession to pull the Pistons within two before Garnett sealed the win at the line.
Both teams had opportunities to win in regulation.
Antonio McDyess blocked Randy Foye’s layup, Rasheed Wallace grabbed the rebound and the Pistons called timeout with 3.3 seconds left. Minnesota wisely fouled Hamilton before he could take a shot because the Pistons had to take the ball out of bounds because they weren’t in the bonus. Hamilton then missed a shot just before the buzzer.
“We had our chances, but we didn’t execute like we should have,” Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince said. “We did a good job of forcing the game into overtime to give ourselves a chance, but we had a couple defensive breakdowns. Foye made a big 3 in the corner that made the difference in overtime.”
Foye scored five of his 11 points early in overtime to help Minnesota take a 87-82 lead.
Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said his team is playing well because its roster has been stable for a change.
“It means everything that we’ve been together,” Casey said. “We had the big trade last year, and we got three key guys in October, and I’ve been saying all along that we just need time together.
“Last year, everyone said they couldn’t win close games, and now look at us.”
Before the game, Chris Webber said he will join the Pistons when he becomes a free agent Tuesday. The five-time All-Star was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers last week. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after clearing waivers Tuesday, freeing him to sign a new deal.
“That has to put them in the driver’s seat in the East,” Casey said. “It adds a lot.”
Webber was greeted by a standing ovation early in the first quarter when he arrived to watch the game with his father from front-row seats. It was a much warmer welcome than he had previously at The Palace because of his involvement with deceased Michigan booster Ed Martin that led to NCAA sanctions.
Trenton Hassell had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Blount scored 10. Garnett also had six assists, five blocks and two steals.
McDyess had a season-high 16 points and Carlos Delfino also provided a boost off the bench with 10 points. Flip Murray had 12 points and nine assists and Prince had 12 for the Pistons. Wallace scored just three points on 1-of-11 shooting before fouling out in the final seconds.
The Pistons fell to 3-5 without Chauncey Billups (right calf). They hope to have him and Webber on Wednesday night at home against Utah.
“We could use anything right now,” Prince said. “We’ve been playing so up and down, more down as of late because of Chauncey. When he’s not out here, it’s a whole different mind-set and structure. He’s the guy that knows where we like the ball and he keeps us under control and he makes plays for us when we need them.”
Webber watched the second half from a suite with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars. … Detroit’s Lindsey Hunter (Achilles tendon) played after missing 18 games. … The Timberwolves were without Marko Jaric (right thumb) and Rashad McCants (right knee) along with Eddie Griffin (drug suspension).