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Pistons shake off slow start, stomp Timberwolves

Associated Press • Oct 26, 2017 at 12:27 AM

DETROIT — After another slow start, the Pistons got it together quickly.

And did they ever get it together.

After falling into another hole in the first quarter, the Pistons responded with their best quarter of the season — a 40-point second-quarter outburst — and cruised in the second half.

That was more than enough to fuel a 122-101 blowout victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Tobias Harris had 34 points, Avery Bradley added 20 points and Andre Drummond 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons (3-2), who embark on a three-game west-coast trip this weekend.

The Pistons had struggled with their 3-point shooting in the first four games, but it came together against the Timberwolves (2-3), who were without All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, who missed the game because of an upper-respiratory infection.

The Timberwolves, who had played their third game in four nights, got off to a hot start, hitting four of their first five field goals. Jeff Teague (18 points), started with a lay-in and a 3-pointer, Andrew Wiggins (21 points) added a jumper and Karl-Anthony Towns (23 points and 10 rebounds) a basket.

The Pistons, who started 0-of-4 from the field, answered with a putback dunk by Drummond and a jumper by Bradley.

Stanley Johnson (15 points) had his first basket in two home games — after an 0-for-15 start from the field — this season on a steal and lay-in at the 5:36 mark. After a 3-pointer by Reggie Jackson (10 points) on the next possession, Towns hit a 3-pointer and dunk for a 20-13 margin.

Johnson followed with another jumper and he scored seven of the Pistons' next 10 points, helping his best offensive production of the season. The Pistons took the lead for good on a back-door cut by Ish Smith (two points and 13 assists) and Langston Galloway added a 3-pointer.

That spurt ignited a 28-9 spurt over the first 8:32 of the quarter, and the Pistons were firmly in control the rest of the way. Harris had back-to-back dunks, plus a jumper and two 3-pointers in the flurry.

The Pistons finished the half with another 7-2 flurry, punctuated by a 3-pointer by Bradley, and led 63-44, at halftime.

Drummond got going in the third quarter, splitting a pair of free throws, then getting a pair of putback baskets, as the lead moved to 20. Bradley continued the onslaught with three straight baskets, but Towns had two baskets in a six-point Timberwolves run.

Harris started another rally with a 3-pointer, Leuer scored on an alley-oop pass from Jackson and Johnson banked in a jumper, for the Pistons' largest lead of the game, 86-61, with 5:15 left in the third quarter.

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The Timberwolves weren't done, though.

They finished the third with the last four points and scored the first four of the fourth quarter, trimming the lead to 91-77.

Harris answered again, with a 3-pointer and Henry Ellenson (14 points, five rebounds) followed with a reverse scoop, with Harris ending the run with another 3-pointer, pushing the lead back to 99-77 with 9:38 left.

On the Pistons' next possession, Ellenson provided an exclamation point, with a drive down the lane for a tomahawk dunk, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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