MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - 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 missed his first 12 shots from the field, but 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 sunk two more to seal it.
The Wolves missed a chance to get their coach No. 1,000 on Friday night when they missed 10 free throws, including one by Rubio with 1.7 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Adelman likes to say he never thought about getting 1,000 wins. He was just focused on getting one. When he took over for the fired Mike Schuler in Portland in 1989, the Blazers dropped his first four games. Win No. 1 came on Feb. 26, 1989, against Miami, and they continued to pile up through stops in Golden State, Sacramento, Houston and Minnesota over the last two decades.
"This is a very volatile league and for Rick to have endured this long is really a testament to his style," Timberwolves president David Kahn said. "He has a style that wears very well and easily with players. The highs aren't too high and the lows aren't too low and he picks his spots very judiciously. You don't earn this record without being very, very good at what you do and being very, very capable of relating to people. He hits both marks."
That he accomplished the feat during such a trying season may bring a little extra satisfaction for Adelman. He missed 11 games earlier this season to be with his wife, who was suffering through seizures. He's also watched a season that started with playoff aspirations go down the drain thanks to a litany of injuries, including a broken hand that has limited star forward Kevin Love to 18 games.
But Mary Kay's condition has stabilized, and she was in the audience on Saturday night to see her husband make some history.
"I think my mom needs it more than my dad does," Wolves assistant David Adelman said before the game.