Detroit Pistons' loss to Timberwolves mars Blake Griffin's debut, 120-114

Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Basketball

DETROIT -- The Detroit Pistons entered Monday night's game having enjoyed two consecutive rest days for the first time this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves were playing their third game in four nights, with the first two going to overtime.

But it was the T'wolves who looked fresh, putting on an early shooting clinic, then using hustle and skill to overshadow Blake Griffin's season debut by defeating the Pistons, 120-114, at Little Caesars Arena.

Griffin finished with 19 points in 23 minutes in his return. He missed the Pistons' first 10 games with left hamstring and left knee soreness -- the same knee he had surgery on after last season for a torn meniscus.

The Pistons were beaten to loose balls and outrebounded, but down 15 after three quarters, they increased their energy in the fourth. They clawed within five in the final period, but led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins (58 points combined), the T'wolves (6-4) held on in front of a sparse but lively crowd that had made the trek through heavy snow.

Tony Snell brought the Pistons (4-7) within 109-104 on his fourth 3-pointer, forcing Ryan Saunders, son of former Pistons coach Flip Saunders, to call timeout with 2:27 left.

On the ensuing possession, Towns was doubled in the post and found Wiggins on the wing for a wide open 3 to beat the shot clock buzzer and give Minnesota a 112-104 lead with 2:02 to play. Towns and Wiggins scored nine straight T'wolves points to finish it off. Wiggins scored a game-high 33 and Towns added 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Towns had been 0-8 against the Pistons, dominated by Andre Drummond in the series.

Derrick Rose returned against his former team after missing four games with a hamstring injury, but shot 3-for-13 for six points in 19 minutes.


Luke Kennard led six Pistons in double-figures with 25 points.

Minnesota was without their top-2 point guards in Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier.

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