MINNEAPOLIS — Welcome to the 1,000-win club, Rick Adelman.
Adelman became the eighth coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games when the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Detroit Pistons 107-101 on Saturday night.
Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Barea scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who surrounded their 66-year-old coach when the buzzer sounded. Adelman grabbed his wife, Mary Kay, and kissed her three times as a video tribute played to honor him.
Brandon Knight scored 25 points, and Rodney Stuckey had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost 18 of their last 21 games. They turned the ball over a season-high 24 times, leading to 25 points for Minnesota.
As the clock wound down, chants of "Adelman! Adelman!" rained down from the crowd, and the coach who has always been reluctant to be in the spotlight met his wife on the sideline for an emotional hug and kiss.
"She had to be here," he said after the game. "She's the reason I've been able to do this all these years."
Adelman is now 1,000-703 in his 22-year career. He joins Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Larry Brown, and George Karl in the exclusive club.
Like many of his 999 previous wins, this one didn't come easy for Adelman. The Timberwolves opened a 10-point lead early in the second half against a team that was 0-14 on the road against Western Conference teams. But after sitting almost the entire second quarter, Derrick Williams couldn't find the rhythm he had early and the Pistons reeled off 11 straight points to take the lead.
Ricky Rubio hit a 17-footer with 54 seconds to play that put the Wolves up 102-99. Luke Ridnour then went 1 for 2 from the line, but Pekovic tapped out the offensive board, and Ridnour hit two more to seal it.