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Anthony Edwards will make his closing argument for 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year, beginning with the first of the Minnesota Timberwolves' final four regular-season games Tuesday, visiting a Detroit Pistons squad rife with its own rotation of standout rookies.
Minnesota (21-47) snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday with a 128-96 blowout of Orlando. While Edwards' streak of consecutive games scoring at least 25 points ended at four, he recorded his first double-double since March 29 with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
"I'm just learning more and more how to put Ant (Edwards) in spots where he's super effective and giving him a chance to have a lane and utilize his talent as best as possible," Karl-Anthony Towns said. "That's a testament to Ant as well, getting more and more comfortable with the game. He's coming into his own."
D'Angelo Russell and Towns scored 27 points each in the win. For Russell, his scoring output was just one point off his high since returning from a 26-game absence following arthroscopic knee surgery.
For Towns, Sunday marked his 10th consecutive game scoring at least 21 points. Towns scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished seven assists when Minnesota last saw Detroit (20-49), all the way back in the season opener on Dec. 23.
The Pistons have adopted a much different lineup as the season has progressed, one showcasing the organization's younger players.
Sunday's 108-96 defeat against Chicago -- the first contest in a season-ending, four-game homestand -- was the Pistons' sixth loss in their last seven games. However, two of Detroit's rookies reached personal milestones in the contest.
Killian Hayes set career-highs with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Saddiq Bey extended his NBA rookie-season record with his 12th game hitting at least five 3-pointers. He went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points.
Five Pistons players scored in double figures, with Isaiah Stewart adding 19 points. Saben Lee's 13 points were his most since scoring 19 on March 29.
"We've got a great future," Hayes said in his postgame press conference. "We have a fun team. We love playing with each other. We love sharing the ball. We love seeing each other succeed. I love my teammates."
Detroit's youth carried the load on Sunday, the second half of a back-to-back, while veterans Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and Wayne Ellington were out. Plumlee should be in the lineup Tuesday after his schedule rest, while Ellington (calves) and Grant (knee) -- the team's leading scorer at 22.3 points per game -- are day-to-day.
Hamidou Diallo (health and safety protocols) missed his third straight game since scoring a career-high of 35 points May 4 against Charlotte. Cory Joseph (ankle) and Josh Jackson (tooth) also missed Sunday's contest.
Minnesota played Sunday without Juan Hernangomez due to a hamstring injury and Jaden McDaniels for personal reasons.
--Field Level Media