Postgame: Wolves hold on to finally win in April
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- April 20, 2012 - 6:57 AM
Wayne Ellington won a game in April tonight for the first time since his North Carolina Tar Heels beat Michigan State in the 2009 NCAA title game.
Funny, but that game was played in Detroit, too, although down the freeway a bit at football's Ford Field.
More than three years later, the Wolves won an April game for the first time since April 8, 2009, two days after Ellington was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player
They ended an NBA record for most consecutive losses in a single month -- 27 -- by building a 23-point, third-quarter lead against a Pistons team playing its third game in three nights and then holding on in the final minute after Detroit got within five points.
The Wolves withstood Pistons backup point guard Will Bynum's dynamic fourth quarter. He scored all of his 17 points in the fourth, including 10 of those in an 18-6 run when Detroit whacked an 82-79 deficit with 4:44 left down to just 85-60 with 40 seconds left.
But the Wolves perservered, ending an 11-game losing streak that dates to a March 28 game at Charlotte by making six free throws in the final 32 seconds, by getting a standup performance from Nikola Pekovic down the stretch both scoring and rebounding and by waiting out an extended official's review with 50 seconds left.
That's when the officials looked and looked and looked again at replay and then concluded their original call that a ball had gone out of bounds off Bynum actually last was touched by J.J. Barea.
Afterward, Barea admitted the officials' got the call right.
The change allowed Bynum to score his final points of the night and get the Pistons within five, but then they had to foul and Barea, Michael Beasley and Ellington each made a pair of free throws that allowed the Wolves to pull away.
You'll find video in which Barea says he touched the ball last -- and well as interviews with Rick Adelman and Ellington -- embedded here in the blog by morning.
Also here's the game story from Thursday's game.
Here's one tidbit I didn't get in the gamer:
Barea had five double-doubles in his first 343 NBA games. He know has six in his last 11 games after tonight's 13-point, 12-assist game that included a lovely bounce pass to Pekovic in the final minute as the Pistons threatened.
Of course, that's because he's the only accomplished point guard still standing.
He played 39 minutes tonight while Malcolm Lee played fewer than nine.
Also, Anthony Randolph got a 15-point, 10-rebound double double after he shot 2-for-15 in two starts at power forward on Monday and Tuesday, and he didn't play the entire fourth quarter because of a hamstring injury.
Not sure at this point how serious it is, but with just two games left...
Tonight's game, sadly, was the Wolves' final road game of the season.
They flew home afterward, will take Friday off and then will practice Saturday to prepare for their only two remaining home games.
After playing so many games at such frantic pace this season, they've now got seven days to just play two more, starting Sunday against Golden State.
Good night from Detroit. I'll check back with you from practice on Saturday.
© 2017 Star Tribune