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Detroit Pistons hope to be sharper against Minnesota Timberwolves

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
Detroit Pistons hope to be sharper against Minnesota Timberwolves
Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey argues a call with officials in the second half on April 14, 2006 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. File photo by Mark Cowan/UPI | License Photo

Blake Griffin posted a triple-double Monday night. Actually, he had a quadruple-double because he reached double figures in a category the forward would like to forget.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves enjoyed another productive night on their home floor, continuing their significant disparity between home and road games.

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Griffin hopes to rebound from a 10-turnover showing when the Detroit Pistons visit the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

The Pistons (14-14) are 1-7 in their last eight games after winning five straight from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1. Five of those defeats are by single digits, including Monday's 107-104 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Against Milwaukee, Griffin posted his ninth triple-double with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. In his second triple-double for the Pistons, Griffin went 4-of-13 and also committed a career-high 10 turnovers.

Griffin missed four shots less than eight feet from the rim and the Pistons were at 42.1 percent (16-of-38) on shots less than eight feet from the basket while finishing at 44.3 percent overall.

"It's very frustrating, but I don't know if it even comes down to that," Griffin said. "I was unbelievably awful tonight. We had a chance to tie it despite everything I did.

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"We're not going to win games if I have 10 turnovers and make poor decisions like I did down the stretch. I feel bad for these guys because they played so hard and got us back in this game. I wasn't good for them tonight. You can look at a lot of things, but it comes down to that."

While Griffin is averaging 26.9 points in his last eight games, he also is averaging 4.3 turnovers in those games and a career-high 3.9 overall this season.

"He's got to get a rhythm, seeing them coming, getting a feel for it and making sure his timing of passing the ball out is there," Detroit head coach Dwane Casey said. "Right now, he's not getting that, whether it is early in the game or late in the game."

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One of Griffin's triple-doubles was with the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 22 shortly before Detroit acquired him. He finished with 32 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds, but the Timberwolves wound up with a 126-118 win in Los Angeles.

Minnesota (14-16) is 10-7 since trading Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia on Nov. 12. Most of those wins are at home as the Timberwolves are 8-3 in their last 11 home games after coasting to a 132-105 win over the Sacramento Kings.

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The Timberwolves scored at least 130 points for the fourth time after returning from a winless four-game West Coast trip that saw them allow 119.2 points but facing Sacramento for the second time in three games, Minnesota resembled the team that allowed 100.6 points in their first 12 games after the trade.

Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 14 points and 14 assists as the Timberwolves led by as many as 36. Nine players reached double figures as the Timberwolves shot 49 percent and received 53 points from their reserves.

"You're always worried when you have a lead like that is sustaining your effort, and you're especially concerned with a team like that, that shoots 3s the way they do," Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We were fortunate to work our way out of that and then I was very pleased with our bench."

One of those not reaching double figures was Jeff Teague, who sat out with left ankle inflammation. Derrick Rose scored 13 points as the starting point guard and likely will start again because Teague will miss the game.

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Detroit has won the last six meetings after losing the previous 10 and is facing the Timberwolves for the first time with Griffin on the team.

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