It was , frankly, a very good opportunity.

The Timberwolves are looking for positive signs to end a difficult season. What better place to do it than in a half-empty Palace of Auburn Hills against a Detroit Pistons team that is darn near 0-for-March?

Mission accomplished.

The Wolves blew open a rather close game in the third quarter, using pesky defense, excellent ball movement and — get this -- rather stunning accuracy from three-point range to win 105-82.

Up by five early in the third quarter, the Wolves turned up all of the above, finishing the quarter on a 32-9 run to build a 28-point lead on the way to an easy victory; it was the first time in franchise history the team has won back to back road games by 20 or more points.

Guard J.J. Barea scored 21 points, center Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Luke Ridnour added 15 points and Ricky Rubio had 14 points, nine assists and four rebounds. The Wolves shot 53.2percent overall, 14-for-26 on three-pointers.

The Wolves got three-pointers from seven players while winning their second straight road game and for the second time in three games overall. Barea was 5-for-7, Derrick Williams and Ridnour were 2-for-3 and Rubio 2-for-2.

For Wolves coach Rick Adelman, it was career victory No. 996.

The Pistons (24-48) lost for the 11th time in 12 games. Detroit was led by Jose Calderone’s 14 points.