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Timberwolves 105, Pistons 82

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- J.J. Barea tied his season high with 21 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves made seven 3-pointers in the third quarter as they rolled to a 105-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace on Tuesday.

Center Nikola Pekovic contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds and Luke Ridnour added 15 points for the Timberwolves (25-44), who outscored the Pistons 38-16 in the third quarter to break the game open. Point guard Ricky Rubio supplied 14 points and nine assists as Minnesota made a season high 14 3-pointers.

Jose Calderon had 14 points and Greg Monroe chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds to top the Pistons (24-48), who ended a 10-game losing streak at Charlotte on Saturday. Another futility streak continued, as they lost their seventh straight at home.

Minnesota used its rare 3-point barrage in the third quarter to grow its six-point halftime lead. The Timberwolves, the league's worst shooting team from long range, fired in five in the first six-plus minutes. Rubio hit two of those to make it 61-48.

Layups by Petrovic and Rubio pushed the advantage to 18, 70-52, before Minnesota returned to its outside game. Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Timberwolves continued to pull away, leading 82-54 by the end of the quarter.

That resulted in extended garbage time with each team resting starters in the fourth quarter.

Pekovic made 6 of 7 field-goal attempts in the first half, including a last-second layup to give the Timberwolves a 44-38 halftime lead. Calderon led the Pistons with 10 points but their offense was off-kilter, as they recorded just five assists in 16 baskets.

NOTES: Timberwolves forward Kevin Love missed his 40th consecutive game because of a broken hand. Detroit center Andre Drummond sat out his 22nd straight game with a back injury and reserve guard Will Bynum was sidelined by a right hand strain. ... The Pistons' last home victory came against Washington on Feb. 13, just before the All-Star break. They were 3-14 following the break, with two of the victories coming at Charlotte. ... Minnesota had a four-game winning streak over the Pistons but this was the first meeting this season. They will play again in Minnesota on Saturday, April 6. ... Minnesota ranked last in 3-point percentage (29.4 percent) entering the game, which surprises Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. "It's a little bit crazy because they have a bunch of guys who can make them," he said. "It's just been one of those years for them." ... Longtime Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour missed the game after being placed on medical leave on Monday. ... This was the first of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch for the Timberwolves. They have another one in April.
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