MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s season-opening victory over Detroit was settled, and Karl-Anthony Towns was urged by teammate D’Angelo Russell to seize played the ball as a memorial.
For mother in memory.
Cities had 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Timberwolves past the Pistons 111-101 Wednesday night after a pregame moment of silence and moving tribute video to the All-Star Center mother. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns died of complications from COVID-19 in April.
“When you go through what I’ve been through, you just find another source of strength. I do not know how to explain it. I promised these guys to be here for them, ”Towns said.
Malik Beasley scored 23 points, Russell hit 18 points, and Anthony Edwards – the first overall draw last month – added 15 points in his debut as the Timberwolves overcame a deficit that often reached double digits and was still 12 points midway through the third quarter. In a promising sign for this long-running franchise, they relied on their defense to come back.
“We grew up, man,” Towns said.
Cities had to do much of it off the field this spring and summer while the NBA paused for the pandemic.
“You can see me smiling and looking, but that Karl died on April 13,” Towns said. “He will never come back. I can not remember that man. I do not know that man. You speak to the physical me, but my soul has been killed long ago, ”Towns said.
Cities that made Minnesota’s first basket after a 0-to-7 start by the team gave the Timberwolves their first lead of the game at 98-97 on a 3-pointer with 3:38 left. Russell hit one with 2:05 left to a 103-101 edge, Towns rebound an unanswered deep shot at the other end of Derrick Rose, and Beasley buried one with 1:28 to send the Wolves on their way.
Josh Jackson (19 points) and Rose (15 points) provided plenty of production from the bench, but the Pistons bounced down the stretch and were outscored 31-16 in the fourth quarter. Rookie Killian Hayes, one of the team’s three draft first-round picks, had three turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“This is it, it’s for him to learn from and get better in these situations,” said Pistons coach Dwane Casey.
Blake Griffin, the six-time All-Star, had 15 points and seven rebounds after his 2019-20 season was limited to 18 games of another left knee injury. The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, one of the few prominent players left after the audit commissioned by new general manager Troy Weaver, took only one shot in the fourth quarter.
Jackson was standout for a disappointing evening. The rest of the punches shot 5 for 28 from 3-point range.
“It’s part of my role on this team to get out and spread the word,” Jackson said.
Stamp: Mason Plumlee threw 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He walked 7 to 8 from the floor.
Timberwolves: Towns and Jarrett Culver (10 points, 10 rebounds) became the first Minnesota pair to record a point-rebound double-double in a season opener since Kevin Garnett and Rasho Nesterovic in 2002.
Stamp: hosts Cleveland Saturday for their home opener.
Timberwolves: Start a road trip with three games in Utah on Saturday.