Minnesota fans (the faithful few who still show up) would have been forgiven if they had followed the fair-weather tradition of leaving games early to beat traffic Friday night. Not because the home team was trailing. The Timberwolves held a 76-70 edge after three quarters of action against the Detroit Pistons. Instead, it is because the Wolves have played like the Michael Jordan Bulls through the first three quarters this season and like the, well, Wolves in the fourth. This time, however, Minnesota was able to play just enough defense in addition to a big night from big man Kevin Love to secure a 109-99 win.
Love notched his now customary double-double, scoring 27 points and pulling down 18 rebounds, while Luke Ridnour contributed 20 points while dishing out 10 assists. Corey Brewer was a remarkable plus 21 off the bench, getting a crucial offensive rebound and dunk with four minutes left in the game as Detroit attempted to mount a comeback.
Darko Milicic blocked seven shots against the team that drafted him second overall in the 2003 draft, ahead of perennial All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, as well as a dozen other players who have had better NBA careers than him. After seeing first-hand the late-developing growth of Milicic as a solid post presence, Detroit fans and personnel had to wonder if they could have won a few more titles and still be a contender had they, or Darko, acted differently.
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Written by TS