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Timberwolves win, Adelman earns 1,000th coaching victory

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Timberwolves finally got it done.

The Wolves, struggling with consistent play all night, finally put away the Detroit Pistons, 107-101, at Target Center Saturday, giving Wolves coach Rick Adelman his 1,000th coaching victory in the process.

Adelman became the eighth NBA coach to reach 1,000 career victories. He reached the milestone in his 1,703rd career game, becoming the fifth-fastest to the mark. He hugged his wife, Mary Kay, after the game as his players applauded.

There was a video presentation in the arena.

As far as the game went, it wasn't pretty, and it was far more difficult than it should have been against the Pistons (25-52), who haven't won on the road against a Western Conference team this season.

But, despite 2-for-19 shooting from starting guards Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour, despite a defense that allowed the Pistons to shoot 53.3 percent, the Wolves did just enough to win down the stretch.

Six players scored in double figures for the Wolves (29-47), including three players off the bench. J.J. Barea scored 20, center Nikola Pekovic added 20 points with 13 rebounds and Derrick Williams chipped in 14.

The Wolves led by a point after Brandon Knight's 3-pointer with 2:31 made the score 98-97.

At the other end, Rubio was fouled on a desperation 3-pointer and made one of two free throws after Knight scored again. Rubio hit his only field goal of the evening with 54 seconds left, but Knight scored again with 44.2 seconds cut the Wolves' lead to 102-101.

Chase Budinger missed a 3-pointer, but the ball went out of bounds off a Pistons player with 25.2 seconds left.

Out of time outs, Ridnour was fouled. He made the first but missed the second free throw. Pekovic got the rebound, Ridnour was fouled again and this time he made both with 15.4 left to make it a 105-101 lead and ice the game.

Knight led all scorers with 25 points for the Pistons. Rodney Stuckey scored 20 off the bench and forward Greg Monroe scored 16.

Williams dominated the first quarter, scoring 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting as the Wolves took a 33-25 lead after one quarter. It was a lead that probably should have been bigger, given that the Wolves shot 65.7 percent, used a 10-0 mid-quarter run and led by as many as 11 in the quarter.

It took about two minutes for the Wolves second unit to surrender that lead. With Stuckey scoring 13 second-quarter points the Pistons rallied to take the lead twice, the second time on Andre Drummond's put-back with less than five minutes left.

NOTES: Count Pistons coach Lawrence Frank among those praising Adelman. "You can make an argument that he might be the most underrated coach in the history of the NBA," Frank said. "I love watching his team play. When you talk to players who have played for him, they always really enjoyed their experience there. I think he's a hall of fame coach." ... Detroit entered Saturday's game winless (0-15) against Western Conference teams on the road. ... Adelman has downplayed any hoopla surrounding winning 1,000 games. But his son, David, a Wolves player development coach, knows how important it is to his dad. "It says a lot about him and the generation of guys -- George Karl, Phil Jackson, those guys -- who grew up coaching in the '60s, '70s and '80s and all found that milestone," David Adelman said. "They were able to stay in one place for years and years and be consistently good at what they do." Frank, who had a 50-92 record in Detroit entering Saturday's game, is aware of rumors about his job being in jeopardy. "When you have a record like we have, it comes with the territory," he said. "You just do the best you can, focus on what you can control. That's about it."
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