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News » DETROIT 98, WOLVES 89


Seven weeks after he coached the Timberwolves for the last time, Randy Wittman's words still ring true following Wednesday's 98-89 loss to Detroit:

It sure is a funny game sometimes.

Two months ago, the Wolves went to Detroit nearly lifeless after a 2-9 season start, and they transformed an 11-point lead into a 25-point, third-quarter bulge that produced an inexplicable runaway victory.

On Wednesday, they carried the NBA's best record in 2009 into Target Center and this time frittered away an 11-point, third-quarter lead and a three-game winning streak with a loss that left coach Kevin McHale and his players mystified.

Wittman said it way back in November to explain that 106-80 victory over a Pistons team that has reached the last six Eastern Conference finals.

Al Jefferson repeated the theme after Wednesday's loss.

"This game is funny like that," he said when asked about the two disparate situations from Nov. 23 to now. "Sometimes, it just works like that. They were ready to go home. They were ready to give up."

Afterward, McHale lamented a team both "stuck in mud" and in "second gear" all night, an occurence perhaps attributable either to that heady 10-2 January record they brought into the game or perhaps point guard Sebastian Telfair's debilitating bruised thigh and foul trouble.

The Pistons scored 14 of the game's first 20 points and 13 of its past 16. In between, they erased the Wolves' 69-58 lead with a 15-3 run that ended the third quarter and began the fourth.

"We didn't push the ball, didn't attack, we just ... I don't know," McHale said. "We were a half-beat off all night long. We couldn't get it all night. The start was the finish, and that's what happens in our league sometimes. That being said, we were up 11 and had the chance to put it away right there."

Instead, the Wolves couldn't do what they did when they were struggling so mightily in November.

"The mistake they made was letting us stay in it," Pistons guard Allen Iverson said. "And letting someone get the hot hand."

Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace were those guys at the end of the third quarter. Wallace was the guy at the end, when it mattered most. Wallace scored on three consecutive possessions down the stretch, including a dagger of a three-pointer with 53 seconds left, one that enabled the Pistons to transform an 84-79 deficit midway through the fourth quarter into a nine-point victory that ended their two-game losing streak.

Wallace finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

"He shoots the ball with a release that's so high," said Jefferson, who had 24 points and six rebounds. "He knocks `em down. We shouldn't have let it get to that. When we had an 11-point lead, we should have gone to a 20-point lead. That's what we had to do and we didn't do that."



Rasheed Wallace, Detroit

The Pistons' temperamental big man was too much with his outside shooting in a fourth quarter when he scored 10 of his 25 points.


3 Games in the Wolves' winning streak that ended Wednesday as well as their losses in January (10-3).

4 Wolves fast-break points.

9 Kevin Love's double-doubles this season after Wednesday's 17-point, 10-rebound game.

30-16 Detroit advantage in free throws attempted. The Pistons made 23 free throws, the Wolves 13.


Up next: vs. Los Angeles Lakers - 7 p.m. Friday - Target Center - TV: Ch. 45 (1130-AM)

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 30, 2009


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