Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards falter late to Wolves, 116-111
Photos | Box Score
Led by Karl Anthony-Towns' season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds, the Timberwolves put away the Wizards late in an 116-111 win. Minnesota went on a 20-3 run in the fourth quarter to take control of the game, and Washington could not recover.
The Wizards started the game 9-of-12 from the field and took a 59-53 lead into the half. Markieff Morris led the Wizards with a season-high 27 points and Bradley Beal added 19 of his own. Morris made 10-of-15 shots and scored 11 of his 27 in the third quarter. Beal made six of his first seven field goals but only made 2-of-9 to finish the game.
The Timberwolves made 13-of-18 of their field goals in the fourth quarter and outscored the Wizards 34-21 in the final period. Minnesota only made two triples in the first three quarters, but hit 5-of-7 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The Wizards led 95-85 early in the fourth, but then the Wolves came alive.
"We had the same start we had in the second quarter, defensive mistakes," Scott Brooks said postgame of the fourth quarter. "And we're continually making them. We got to clean it up otherwise—I think we're up six going into the second quarter and they jumped on us. Then the same thing happened in the fourth quarter. They went on a run. We got to get stops, and we got to stop worrying about scoring.”
Towns was exceptional in the game, making 13-of-17 field goals, all three 3-point attempts, and all eight free throws. He would hit a 3-pointer to put the Wolves up five with 29 seconds left, and defended Beal late to force the turnover that led to a game-sealing dunk by Jeff Teague. Ian Mahinmi was effective on Towns at times and finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, but Towns' ability to score from anywhere on the court was nearly unguardable at times.
Otto Porter Jr. struggled from the field, only scoring eight points on 4-of-14 shooting. Others such as Morris stepped up to make up for his tough night from the field. Tomas Satoransky had 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, as well as a key steal and behind-the-back pass to Porter late in the game to bring the Wizards within three. The team's bench finished with 36 points, with Ramon Sessions adding nine points in 16 minutes to lead the unit with Mahinmi.
The Wizards gave up 64 points in the paint, their fourth straight game of allowing 60 or more down low. Both teams had double-digit offensive rebounds, with the Timberwolves scoring 18 second chance points and the Wizards 16. It was the Timberwolves' first road win against an Eastern Conference team since December 31.
"We're getting beat on backdoors, we're getting beat off the dribble," Brooks said of the poor interior defense. "If you do that, you can't expect your bigs to protect you every time. You got to guard, you got to guard the ball. You can't keep saying the same things every game. It's been four games now, and we've given up over 60 points in the paint. It's a personal pride. I got to find the guys that are going to do it.”
Next up, the Wizards travel to Boston overnight to take on the Celtics on Wednesday at 8pm. Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, and Daniel Theis have already been ruled out for the Celtics.
“We need it, we need to win," Beal said of Wednesday's game in Boston. "It’s plain and simple. It’s not anything we need to pinpoint on doing, we know who we’re playing, we know what environment we’re going to be in, so there should be nothing new for us. Just go out there and get a win, whatever it takes.”