Washington Wizards won their ninth straight game at home on Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, despite a Herculean effort from Andrew Wiggins.
There’s a distinct comfort to coming home and sleeping in your own bed.
This season, the Washington Wizards have won just three games on the road. But inside the Verizon Center, Scott Brooks‘ club has looked elite, winning eight straight games at home prior to Friday’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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After dropping a double-digit lead late in the game, John Wall and Bradley Beal delivered in the clutch, closing out another victory in D.C. over the Wolves, 112-105.
Wall puts on a selfless show
Wall is third in the league in assists, just behind James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Despite putting up 10 assists on a nightly basis, Wall still lacks the public love other guards get, including Ricky Rubio.
The Wolves’ starting guard has been regarded as one of the league’s premier passers, but was dominated on Friday by Wall.
Wall dished out a season-high 18 assists to go alongside his 18 points. Wall, who attempted just two free throws in the game, wasn’t getting help from the officials and opted to find his teammates off the drive.
He connected with Beal early. Beal made five of his seven tries from deep, totaling 22 points on just 12 shots.
Almost each of Wall’s 18 assists was worthy of a replay. His flash coupled with efficiency has propelled him among the league’s best players, not just at his position.
Gortat outperforms promising star
Karl-Anthony Towns quickly ascended as a star center after being selected first overall in last year’s NBA Draft. Even with his skill-set, learning the nuances of the game will take some time and Towns has some developing to do before reaching his full potential.
Marcin Gortat typically struggles against long, athletic bigs, but used his body well on the defensive end of the floor, knocking Towns off his base.
Gortat forced the Wolves’ star into tough, contested shots, making it that much harder for the opposition to get set offensively.
On the other end, Gortat had a perfect game, making all nine of his shot attempts. He finished the night with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Jason Smith also deserves some credit with making life difficult for Towns on Friday night. He came off the bench, blocked two shots and scored 10 points.
It’s taken him most of the season to find his touch, but Smith has been a reliable option for the Washington Wizards’ second unit.
He’s beginning to make up for his rough start by playing with energy and providing much-needed rim protection.
Another young wing torches D.C.
Giannis Antetokounmpo lit the Wizards up recently, scoring a career-high 39 points. Virtually every time he touched the ball, Giannis found a way to get a highlight play inside the paint. Otto Porter, while improved defensively, isn’t capable of containing superstar wings at this point.
Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points on Friday night and put on a show similar to Giannis. He dunked over Porter in the half-court on multiple occasions and found an unstoppable flow from mid-range.
Washington has to do a better job of impeding players from getting into their sweet spots. On Friday, Wiggins got inside with little resistance and that allowed him to increase his scoring range once the game picked up.