for this game

Stuckey carries undermanned Pistons past Timberwolves

Apr 2, 2008 - 4:10 AM By James Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - Rookie Rodney Stuckey had his coming-out party with 27 points to lead the shorthanded Detroit Pistons to a 94-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

With Detroit resting at the No. 2 slot in the Eastern Conference standings, coach Flip Saunders decided to give All-Star Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace the evening off.

Trailing by as many as 21 points early in the second quarter, Detroit battled back behind a 19-4 run during which it held Minnesota without a field goal for almost six minutes to close within 49-44 at halftime. Seldom-used forward Walter Herrmann had nine points for the Pistons in the period.

"We gave this game away in the last six minutes of the second quarter," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "Up to that point, we played as good a game as we have played - moving the ball, making the extra pass, not over-dribbling."

After having its lead cut to three midway through the third, Minnesota used nine third-quarter points from Al Jefferson to extend its lead to 72-65 going into the final quarter.

A pair of jump shots by Juan Dixon and a three-point play by Amir Johnson tied the game at 72-72 just two minutes into the period.

After Randy Foye's shot from the arc locked things up at 88-88 with 2:03 left, Stuckey hit two from the line and drilled a pull-up jumper in the lane to give the Pistons the lead for good.

"Stuckey carried us as far as making shots and getting to the foul line at the right opportune times," Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince said. Stuckey and Prince combined for 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Detroit.

"I'm so proud of those young guys," Prince said. "We started out a little bit non-aggressive on both ends, but the second unit started making things happen. It wasn't so much play-calling, they just went out there and figured things out for themselves."

Jefferson finished with 26 points and Foye had 18 for the Timberwolves, who were outscored, 26-18, in the decisive period.

"We lost the momentum going into halftime," Wittman said. "Their bench kicked our (butts). We didn't have an answer for Stuckey."