Timberwolves Wrap: Losing in the nation’s capital
The Timberwolves played a fantastic third quarter and led the Wizards by five heading into the final frame, but ultimately fell in our nation’s capital.
The Timberwolves have lost three games in a row after dropping Friday night’s game in Washington D.C. — a game in which they led by five points heading into the fourth quarter.
The Wolves struggled in the first half and actually trailed by eight at halftime before a 37-24 third quarter put them up by a pair of possessions at 85-80.
But the fourth quarter was the problem frame for Minnesota this time around. The Wizards began the fourth with a 9-0 run that would give them a lead that they would only fully relinquish for a brief moment with just under three minutes remaining in the game.
John Wall was great down the stretch after only having four points at halftime. His speed in the pick-and-roll game was too much for Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns as they attempted to “ICE” the action. Wall was able to turn the corner and either create for his teammates or shoot a mid-range jumper. He finished the game with 18 points (on just 8-of-18 shooting) and a whopping 18 assists.
The Wolves wanted to make others hit their shots, and save for that stretch in the third quarter, the Wizards’ supporting players did just that. Otto Porter, Jr. and Bradley Beal each shot 7-for-12 on the night, while center Marcin Gortat was a perfect 9-for-9. Reserve big Jason Smith knocked down 5-of-8 shots off the bench as well, and those were mostly of the wide-open, mid-range variety.
It was a disappointing loss to a decent Wizards team that despite still sitting at just 17-18 on the year has won eight games in a row at the Verizon Center. They are now 14-6 at home this season.
Tweet of the Night
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 7, 2017
Star of the Night
Andrew Wiggins: 41 points (16-30 FG, 1-3 3P, 8-10 FT), 2 assists, 2 steals, one rebound, 2 turnovers
This is a tough one, as Wall’s 18-point, 18-assist night deserves some recognition — not to mention the fact that Wiggins only managed a single rebound in 39 minutes of play, a pattern that is all too frequent from the Wolves’ 21 year-old wing.
Wiggins struggled from the field in the early stages of the game but single-handedly kept the Wolves in it down the stretch.
Notable Timberwolves Lines
- Karl-Anthony Towns: 18 points (7-17 FG, 0-2 3P, 4-5 FT), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, one steal, one block, 3 turnovers
- Gorgui Dieng: 15 points (6-12 FG, 1-1 3P, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, one turnover
- Zach LaVine: 8 points (3-14 FG, 2-6 3P), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, one turnover
- Brandon Rush: 10 points (4-4 FG, 2-2 3P), one rebound, one block
- Ricky Rubio: 4 points (2-3 FG), 7 assists, 5 rebounds, one steal, 3 turnovers
Towns was okay but never really got it going. Dieng was great throughout, and LaVine struggled mightily with his shot. Brandon Rush made a solid, 20-minute appearance due to Shabazz Muhammad‘s illness, and Ricky Rubio was his good-but-unremarkable-2016-17-self.
Who’s Up Next?
The Timberwolves turn around and host the Utah Jazz on Saturday night in a tough road-home back-to-back. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.