AUBURN HILLS — Villanueva called it not acceptable. Ben said it was terrible. Stuckey added there are no excuses. No matter how it is looked at, the Detroit Pistons’ defense really was that bad. Without centers Ben and Kwame Brown, the Pistons’ frontcourt was chewed up Thursday night by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit fell 122 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was the Pistons’ fourth loss a row Dick Butkus Jersey heading into Friday’s preseason game against Milwaukee, their last before Wednesday’s opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. Guys just aren’t on the same right now, said Villanueva, who started at forward for the first time this preseason. Not to discredit anything from Minnesota, but we should have beat this team. Seemed every time we made a run, they picked it up even more. We gotta pick up the defense. Minnesota, which halted a five-game streak, picked apart Detroit’s depleted frontcourt to turn by far its best offensive performance of the preseason. Timberwolves forward Gomes and centers Oleksiy Pecherov and Hollins each set or matched preseason highs against Eddie Goldman Jersey Detroit’s porous interior, which played without Brown because of a hand injury and because of a sore knee. The Pistons were not ducking from their play on defense. That’s just no excuse, Stuckey said of playing without Brown and. We shouldn’t have just given this team 122 points, first of all. Offensively, we got it. It’s just all about how badly we want to do it on defense.. 122 points is too many for a team like Minnesota — any team the NBA.
Detroit coach John Kuester said before the game he expected Brown to play, but he did not. The team still is waiting on X-rays taken of his injured left hand. Center Chris Wilcox got his first start of the preseason Brown’s place. Villanueva had a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while starting for. Detroit started the game on a 12 run and appeared to overwhelm Minnesota, which played without center Al and forward — its two best players. But the Timberwolves responded, scoring 14 of the game’s next 18 points to pull even at 16. Detroit led by three points at halftime and quickly expanded the margin to nine as Minnesota missed six of its first seven shots the third quarter. It’s a game of spurts, and our energy level at the beginning of the game and at the beginning of the third, we did a nice job, Kuester said. But sustaining that for 48 minutes, we didn’t give the energy we had early on. Minnesota proceeded to put together a 26 run the rest of the quarter to put away the Pistons, who did not trail until that decisive run. The Timberwolves, who averaged only 97 points per game entering play Thursday — 19th best the NBA — had six players score double digits. Guard Corey Brewer netted a team-high 21 points. is very concerning, Kuester said. I told all along we had to defend to win, and we’re not doing that right now. I’ve got to get more energy and effort, and more consistent energy and effort, from this group, and try to sustain it. A bright spot for Detroit was the play of Stuckey, who had a team-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, dished out five assists and committed only two turnovers. More importantly, he appears to be emerging as a consistent leader at point guard. Stuckey ran the team they way I want the team to be run, Kuester said. He got people involved the game, and I thought he did outstanding a job of taking care of the ball. Really, he did outstanding job, and that was one of the things we looked for going into this game, is the leadership at that position, and he did do a good job.