MINNEAPOLIS — Two days after perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves rebounded with a run-away 114-101 victory over visiting the Detroit Pistons at Target Center on Friday.
Forward Kevin Love had 28 points and 14 rebounds and guard Kevin Martin added 24 points for the Wolves, who used a big first-quarter run to take control of the game.
The Wolves (31-30) kept their Western Conference playoff hopes alive with the win, their seventh in nine games. Minnesota also got 17 points from center Nikola Pekovic and 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds from point guard Ricky Rubio.
Detroit, still in the Eastern Conference playoff picture despite being 14 games under .500, lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Pistons were led by forward Greg Monroe (20 points, 15 rebounds), guard Brandon Jennings (17 points), and guard Will Bynum (17).
The game was in stark contrast to Wednesday, when the Wolves were beaten by a slumping New York Knicks team in large part because of a slow start.
Friday the Wolves did not have that problem. They took control of the game in the first quarter and never really let go. They were up by 18 after the first quarter, by 21 at the half and by 28 entering the fourth quarter, which allowed them to withstand Bynum’s 17-point fourth-quarter explosion.
Love had 14 points and Martin had 11 in an explosive first quarter that ended with Minnesota leading 39-21. The Wolves were up by a point early in the quarter when the Wolves went on a 21-8 run — Love had five points, Corey Brewer six — that put the Wolves up 29-11 with just over 3 minutes left in the quarter. The Wolves, who got the free throw line 11 times in the quarter, led by as many as 20.
With the Wolves bench scoring 22 of the team’s 27 points, that lead grew to as big as 24 points, and the Wolves still led by 21 at halftime.
Love had 10 points and four rebounds in the third quarter, during which the Wolves’ lead grew as large as 31 points.
NOTES: At halftime of Monday’s game with the Knicks, New York center Tyson Chandler was asked by New York TV about how to play Kevin Love. “Go at ’em,” Chandler said. “Can’t play D.” Friday morning, Love was asked about those comments. “(To heck with) him,” Love said profanely. “I don’t give a (darn).” This was said slightly sarcastically, as Chandler and Love are friends. … Wolves G Ricky Rubio and F Corey Brewer had combined for 242 steals entering Friday’s game, making them the most prolific teammates in the NBA at that stat. … As proof of how mismatched the two conferences are, Detroit came into Friday’s game 13 games under . 500, having lost five of six games. And they were closer to a playoff spot than the Wolves. Detroit was three games behind No. 8 Atlanta in the East, while the Wolves were five games out of eighth place in the West.
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