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Timberwolves down Pistons in exhibition game in Winnipeg

The Canadian Press

10/25/2012 12:01:06 AM

WINNIPEG - Except for the opening of the second act in Winnipeg, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman was pretty pleased with the way his Timberwolves shut down the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

"I thought we were really solid defensively, except for the start of the third quarter. We just came out very flat," Adelman said after the 95-76 win lifted the Timberwolves to 4-2 in pre-season play.

"They missed a lot of shots in the first half but we didn't allow them any second shots. It was a good win for us."

Chase Budinger had 21 points off the bench, Derrick Williams added 18 and Nikola Pekovic had 14 for Minnesota. Jose Barea chipped in with seven assists.

Rodney Stuckey had 21 points for Detroit (3-4), which got 11 points from both Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler.

The Timberwolves jumped to a 27-10 lead in the first quarter thanks to strong shooting from Williams (13 points) and Pekovic (10 points).

"We were challenging shots. We got a lot of points in the paint," Adelman said. "I thought we played a really solid first half, the guys who started and the guys who came off the bench."

Rodney Stuckey had 21 points for Detroit (3-4), which got 11 points from both Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler.

With star power forward Kevin Love out at least six weeks with a broken hand, there have been questions about how Minnesota will cope.

Last season the Timberwolves struggled after guard Ricky Rubio went down with torn knee ligaments. There is still no timeline for his return.

But Williams sees things coming together as the team waits for Love to come back.

"It's tough without him but you've just got to deal with it," Williams said. "We've got other players that are going to step up, including myself and D.C. (Dante Cunningham), especially at the four spot.

"We've got a big job ahead of us for the next six weeks or so and I think we played pretty well tonight."

The Pistons struggled with shots that missed the mark in the first half but they showed more life at the start of the second and closed the gap to within five at one point.

But the Timberwolves came back to stretch their lead to 68-53 as the third quarter ended.

"In the last five minutes of the third quarter we opened the lead up again and that really made the difference," Adelman said.

Minnesota pulled away even further in the fourth quarter on the way to a comfortable pre-season win.

It was the second of two exhibition NBA games played in Canada outside of Toronto this month, with the first coming in Montreal.

Even with the NHL lockout keeping the Winnipeg Jets on the sidelines, the MTS Centre still sported a few vacant seats.

But with a little urging the fans who were there were loud supporters of the Timberwolves, who counted it as a home game.

"I didn't know there were that many Minnesota fans out here but it's good," Williams said. "It felt like a home game."