MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves got a big boost from their bench in a 118-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
Michael Beasley had 20 points off the bench, and D’Angelo Russell returned with 22 points and eight assists after missing four games because of a left shin contusion.
Minnesota’s preferred starting lineup was back together for the first time in seven games with Russell’s return. But it was the work of the second unit that helped the Timberwolves overcome a sluggish start to the matinee affair. Minnesota won its fourth straight, pulling away late in the fourth.
Saddiq Bey scored 24 points for Detroit, which has lost eight of nine. Trey Lyles added 16, and Cory Joseph had 15.
Injuries and COVID-19 have led to constant change for Minnesota’s starting lineup. Russell’s return finally reunited coach Chris Finch’s preferred lineup with Russell, Towns, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley.
Before Russell’s injury, Beverley had missed games with a right ankle sprain and COVID-19 struck the team in November. With those five in the lineup, Minnesota is 12-5.
The lack of cohesiveness was noticed early as Detroit’s struggling unit led by as many as five in the first quarter.
Beasley helped the Wolves recover. He had two 3-pointers as Minnesota used a 19-8 run to take the lead.
The young Pistons wouldn’t let up. After the Wolves took a game-high, 13-point lead in the fourth, Detroit closed within five with 3:55 remaining.
Detroit’s Killian Hayes, who was scoreless with three turnovers through three quarters, had 10 points in the fourth. He finished with eight assists.
Pistons: G Cade Cunningham missed his third straight game with a right hip pointer. F Josh Jackson missed his fifth in a row due to right lumbar spine spasms.
Timberwolves: Reserve C Naz Reid went down hard in the fourth quarter and was down for several minutes before limping to the bench. … F Taurean Prince, who scored in double figures off the bench in four straight games, left the game in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and didn’t return. … G Josh Okogie missed his fourth straight game with a right quad contusion. … Minnesota’s bench contributed 43 points.
Pistons: At Dallas on Tuesday night.
Timberwolves: At Sacramento on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.