Drummond sees another 20-20 game in romp over Minnesota
Minneapolis — Andre Drummond may not have 20-20 vision, but he’s turning 20-20 games into a regular sighting.
For the second straight game, Drummond recorded at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, showing a wide arsenal of offensive moves and putbacks and a remarkable effort on both ends of the court.
BOX SCORE: Pistons 117, Timberwolves 90
And the numbers are not run-of-the-mill stuff: 22 points and 22 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Drummond’s superlative effort was the key in a decisive 117-90 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at Target Center. It’s the third straight win for the Pistons in the series, turning the tide on a matchup the Timberwolves had dominated, claiming the previous 10.
Drummond had a season-high 26 points and added 20 rebounds in Wednesday’s loss at Charlotte and was just as impressive against the young Timberwolves. Reggie Jackson added 16 points and four assists and Marcus Morris 15 points and seven rebounds for the Pistons (13-12).
“His energy was great and he was dominant. He was all over the boards and you can see as we start to get more penetration, he gets more opportunities on the offensive boards,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “The real positive thing is that’s three games in four days where he’s played really well. That’s what we’re looking for from him, that consistent energy.”
It’s the third 20-20 game for Drummond this season and the second time in his career that he’s had back-to-back 20-20 games.
The Pistons led, 49-43, at halftime and never relinquished the lead after that. They stretched it to a 10-point advantage with an 8-4 spurt. Drummond had a hook and an alley-oop and Jackson added a floater and Morris a jumper to make it 57-47.
Andrew Wiggins (16 points) answered with a floater, which started a 7-2 spurt that cut the lead to five, after a three-point play by Gorgui Dieng (13 points, seven rebounds).
The Timberwolves (6-17) closed to 63-60 after six straight points, with a jumper by Ricky Rubio, two free throws from Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points and 12 rebounds) and a drive by Wiggins.
The Pistons bench was able to put the game away, finishing the third quarter with a 19-8 run, spurred by Harris, who had a pair of 3-pointers, a 3-pointer by Ish Smith and five straight points from Jon Leuer, who tied his season high with 17 points and added five rebounds.
“We got into a good rhythm, got some good shots up and they were able to fall,” Harris said. “Most importantly, we got stops and kept running, hustling at a really good pace in the way we were playing. That was the real point in being able to open up the game.”
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (10 points, seven assists) followed with a 3-pointer and Baynes capped the run with an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Ish Smith with 2.7 seconds left to make it 82-68 entering the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves didn’t have a field goal for the last 3:05 of the third period and were outscored, 13-3 during that stretch. The Pistons continued at the start of the fourth, with another jumper by Leuer, a 3-pointer by Jackson and two free throws for Caldwell-Pope, as the lead ballooned to 89-68.
They put it away with a jumper by Leuer and a 3-pointer by Morris, for a 24-point bulge, with 8:50 remaining.
“We just picked it up from where the last group that was in left off,” Harris said. It’s not a matter of who was on the floor at the time, just a matter of the collective effort to keep it going and keep it running, so that’s what we did.”
The Timberwolves were sizzling in the opening minutes, starting 7-of-8 from the field and taking a 15-7 lead by the 7:00 mark. During the stretch, all five starters scored, including a pair of jumpers by Towns.
The Pistons had just a 3-pointer by Harris during the run, but rallied defensively, holding Minnesota to just 1-of-10 shooting over the next stretch of six minutes. They took advantage, with back-to-back dunks by Drummond, which started an 18-5 spurt to finish the half.
Wiggins had both baskets for the Timberwolves, but the Pistons got their bench involved, with 3-pointers by Caldwell-Pope and backup point guard Ish Smith. The Pistons finished the final minute with drives by Morris and Smith, for a 25-20 advantage.
The Timberwolves answered in the second quarter, with seven straight points, including two baskets from Zach LaVine (14 points). Jackson ended the flurry with a 3-pointer and rookie Kris Dunn had a pair of baskets, but Leuer had a 3-point play and added two free throws to put the Pistons back ahead, 33-31.
The Pistons had a 10-4 run, with two jumpers by Tobias Harris and two 3-pointers by Morris and turnaround jumper by Harris to pull ahead, 45-41.
Harris put up another jumper that was ruled a goaltending and Drummond added a hook for the Pistons’ biggest lead, 49-41, with 1:50 left, but Towns converted an alley-oop with 17.2 second left to cut the Pistons lead to six at halftime.
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