MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 21 (Ticker) -- Terrell Brandon
is not starting games, but he is finishing them.
Brandon scored 17 points and ran the offense for the entire fourth quarter as the Minnesota Timberwolves stayed hot with a 105-101 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Brandon did not play in last week's 108-100 win at Washington as he continued to recuperate from knee surgery. He returned in Saturday's win at Golden State but played just 17 minutes off the bench, scoring eight points.
The veteran guard again did not start but played 23 minutes, making 6-of-10 shots and handing out seven assists. He began the final period with a jumper and dished four assists before giving Minnesota its largest lead at 103-91 with a pair of free throws with 1:52 to go.
NBA.comTV highlights from Wizards-Wolves:
Kevin Garnett extends the defense against the Wizards on Monday.
"We stayed really patient, but they're an East Coast team -- we'd get up four or five points, and they'd call timeout -- so our patience really paid off at the end," Brandon said.
"Terrell came in and did a nice job," said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders. "He scored 17 off the bench in 23 minutes. Terrell and Chauncey (Billups) combined for 14 assists and (one) turnover. When you get that from your point guards, you're going to be pretty happy."
Kevin Garnett collected 23 points and nine assists and Wally Szczerbiak scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, who shot 53 percent (39-of-74) and have won 10 of their last 11 games. Minnesota also has won eight in a row at home.
"We're a playoff team," Brandon said. "Winning the division is the important thing. Getting home-court advantage, particularly for our fans -- they deserve it. We've got to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. But we've also got to remember that feeling when you lose -- how humbling an experience it is."
Michael Jordan had 29 points and a season-high 14 rebounds for the Wizards. But the superstar guard shot 1-of-11 in the fourth quarter and 12-of-34 overall.
"Minnesota just wore MJ down," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "They kept making him work so hard. They kept running fresh bodies at him."
"I didn't feel that bad, actually," Jordan said. "I just missed some easy shots. Anytime when you're trying to catch up and you miss some easy shots, it takes a little more out of energy, especially when it's layups."
Washington has lost five of its last six games.
Brandon's jumper with 2:46 left in the third quarter gave the Wolves the lead for good at 76-75. He had another to open the fourth quarter, extending the advantage to 85-79.
The Wizards closed to 90-86, but Brandon fed Anthony Peeler for a 3-pointer. Rasho Nesterovic added a lane jumper for a 95-86 bulge with 6:34 remaining.
Jordan's only basket of the period was a 3-pointer over Garnett that beat the shot clock and cut the deficit to six points. But Nesterovic scored inside again and Joe Smith made a pair of foul shots.
"KG did a great job on (Jordan)," Peeler said. "Michael was trying to win the game. He's back into 'Mike mode.' His legs are back. He's quicker with the ball."
After a jumper by Washington's Chris Whitney, Brandon again fed Peeler for a long jumper and added two from the line to seal it.
Peeler scored 14 points, Smith added 13 and Nesterovic 10 for the Wolves, who made 21-of-25 free throws and turned it over just nine times.
Whitney scored 16 points and Popeye Jones added 13 for the Wizards, who shot 43 percent (38-of-88) and held a 39-35 edge on the glass.
The Wizards had won nine of the last 11 meetings but were swept in the season series.
Jordan scored 14 points in the second quarter. He had 22 at halftime, but the Wizards trailed, 56-53.