Wolves vs. Wizards Gameday
Fourth Quarter: 110-99 Wizards
The Wizards opened up a big lead in the fourth quarter as Butler and Jamison closed the door on Minnesota. Butler scored six points in the period and finished with a game-high 27 to hand the Wolves their 10th straight loss. Jamison was deadly in the second half with 19 points. Minnesota also lost Foye at the 5:09 mark after he fell in an attempt to catch a high lob pass from Miller. Foye instantly grabbed his ankle in pain and had to be escorted to the locker room. The Wolves’ starters played a balanced game with Telfair scoring 18 points, Gomes also posted 18, Foye finished with 15, and Miller tallied 16 in the loss. Love recorded his 19th double-double on the season, which is the most among NBA rookies.
More postgame coming soon...
Third Quarter: 79-73 Wizards
Gomes exploded in the third quarter with 12 points to help Minnesota recapture the lead at the 9:40 mark. The Wolves have now reached the free throw line 17 times and hit 14 of those attempts. Foye has engineered a nice all-around effort with 13 points, five assists, and three boards. Love is just two rebounds short of another double-double performance. Washington used a 14-3 run to snag the lead back as Jamison scored 14 points in the quarter and now has 21 for the game. The Wizards are outscoring the Wolves in the paint 32-16 and on the boards 34-30.
Halftime: 49-44 Wizards
The stagnant Wolves offense gained some momentum at the four minute mark of the period. Minnesota cut the lead to just two points with aggressive play from Telfair, who scored seven points in 20 minutes of court time. The Wizards then put together a quick 5-0 run to provide breathing room heading into the locker room. Foye was held scoreless in the second quarter and the Wolves shooting percentage fell to just 40. For Washington, Songaila continues to impress with 15 points in the half and a perfect, 7-for-7 from the field. Butler finished with nine points and Jamison added seven for the Wizards.
First Quarter: 27-24 Wizards
Washington jumped out to a 5-0 start in the first quarter. Songaila was extremely active on the glass and scored 13 points while forcing Love into early foul trouble. Love escaped the quarter with two fouls after McHale decided to use a smaller lineup to start the game. The Wizards started Javaris Crittenton instead of Mike James as Washington received solid production from the backcourt. Shooting guard Dominic McGuire finished the quarter with seven points and the Wizards shot 50 percent from the field. Foye was aggressive in the early stages with 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting. Minnesota hit two long bombs but seemed a bit sluggish on the offensive end of the floor.
Pregame News and Notes: 6:30 PM
McHale told reporters he will start the smaller version of the lineup against Washington tonight. Love will start at center with Gomes moving to power forward, Miller at small forward, Foye at shooting guard, and Telfair at his usual point guard spot.
Wolves Shootaround Audio
Kevin McHale Randy Foye
The Wizards feature All-Star talent on and off the floor but a dismal record will have the team focused on the lottery this summer. Gilbert Arenas is back at practice for Washington after missing a majority of the year. Most likely, the team will not trot its star player on the floor as the squad holds a 14-49 record, fifth in the Southeast. The Wizards have lost five straight games by an average of 13.6 points per game. When looking at the team statistics, Washington ranks near the bottom of just about every category. The injury-riddled Wizards complete a four-game road trip in Minnesota tonight after facing San Antonio and Dallas on Friday and Saturday.
During the first meeting on February 17, the Wolves allowed 35 points in the fourth quarter in a 111-103 loss. Washington hit 51 percent of its shots from the field and outscored Minnesota 16-10 in fast break points. The Wolves only connected on 6-of-24 3-point attempts on their way to five straight losses.
The Wizards backcourt took another hit with the season-ending injury to starting point guard DeShawn Stevenson. A ruptured disk in his back forced Stevenson to undergo surgery, which presented an opportunity for Mike James to take the reigns. James and Dominic McGuire will square off against Sebastian Telfair and Randy Foye. Despite the recent struggles from the Wolves, Telfair and Foye should own an advantage tonight in the backcourt. James only recorded double-digit points in two of the five games in the recent losing skid. McGuire averages 4.1 points and 5.1 rebounds this season in his second season in the league. On February 17, Telfair and Foye combined for 34 points and seven assists. The Wolves will search for offense in the backcourt; Foye is certainly the go-to-guy to lift Minnesota out of the doldrums tonight.
In the first meeting, Antawn Jamison had a huge impact on the final result with 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field. Jamison also grabbed 11 boards while playing 41 minutes. The power forward is one of the more underrated scorers in the league with his ability to shoot from the outside and create scoring opportunities off the dribble. Washington relies heavily on Jamison's 21.6 points and 9.6 rebounds this season without Arenas in the lineup. Expect a heavy dose of Jamison tonight at the Target Center against either Kevin Love or Ryan Gomes depending on the defensive alignment from head coach Kevin McHale. At the small forward spot, Caron Butler gives the Wizards a defensive presence in the frontcourt along with another scoring option when Jamison draws the double team. Butler returned to the game action on Saturday against the Mavericks and finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. After missing three games with a hamstring injury, Washington is ecstatic to bring back a high-caliber player to the starting lineup. Since Al Jefferson's knee injury, Gomes is providing an offensive threat for the Wolves frontcourt. Gomes scored 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting in the loss to Portland on Saturday night. If Minnesota expects to treat the home crowd to a victory, the team must swarm Butler and Jamison on the defensive side of the floor.
Both teams are desperately searching for a victory tonight as the Wolves hope to reverse a nine-game losing streak. Minnesota was close to ending the drought in Portland on Saturday night but Foye missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds. As the Wolves begin a stretch of four home games in six nights, the matchup tonight is a great chance to defeat a downtrodden Wizards team. Tipoff set for 7 PM at the Target Center.
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