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Wizards close out Timberwolves in team win, 92-89
Washington's benched scored 49 points to lead the team to victory
Otto Porter Jr. scored 22 points and the go-ahead basket and the Wizards' bench produced 49 points in their 92-89 comeback win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Washington trailed by as many as 13 points, but the bench's play inspired multiple comebacks to come out with a win. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16 points and Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks added 12 points a piece to lead the second unit. The Wizards only turned the ball over seven times, and extended possessions late to ignite the comeback. In the first game of a road back-to-back in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, the Wizards won Tuesday night's game as team with all 10 guys who played contributing to the win.Photos | Box Score
John Wall did not travel with the Wizards on this quick two game road trip as he recovers from knee soreness. Tim Frazier was given the start along the usual starters, but it would be Tomas Satoransky and Bradley Beal who would run the point most of the game. The Wizards started off slow, with the Timberwolves opening up a 17-6 lead to begin the game. Matched up with Porter, Andrew Wiggins had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first. Porter struggled with only five points on 2-of-6 shooting in the opening period, but it would be Porter who won the remaining three quarters in this key matchup between two talented and young wings. Even with the slow start, Washington's second unit put together a quick 5-0 run to end the first quarter that concluded with one of Jodie Meeks' four 3-pointers to end the first quarter.
The Wizards' second unit stayed hot to start the second quarter, extending that 5-0 run into a 16-2 run. Taking their first lead of the game, the Wizards' bench was stifling the Timberwolves and scoring at will. Satoransky and Meeks combined for 11 points in the second quarter as the bench outscored the Timberwolves' bench 15-1 in the quarter. Oubre, who finished with 16 points, was a huge spark in the first half with eight points and some sensational playmaking. The Timberwolves regained the lead and Washington faced an eight-point deficit at the half, but the Wizards' bench gave the team a huge boost not only in the first half, but also the entire game.
Porter started to heat up in the third quarter, scoring 13 points for the second straight third quarter after doing the same against Portland on Saturday. He made all four of his shots, three of which were 3-pointers, and played all 12 minutes of the third. As aforementioned, Porter dominated the matchup with Wiggins after the first quarter, outscoring him 17-2 and holding Wiggins to 1-10 shooting in the last 36 minutes. Oubre and Satoransky came in with 4:28 to go and Mahinmi returned with 3:44 left in the third to give the Wizards a spark. Washington held Minnesota to 8-of-21 (38.1%) from the field for the second straight quarter, and only trailed by three heading into the fourth.
Porter and Beal were the only two starters who saw time in the fourth quarter, with Oubre (all 12 minutes), Mahinmi (all but the final four seconds), and Scott (10:41) playing almost all of crunch time. Scott, who has scored in double digits in eight of his last 13 appearances, had nine points in the fourth, making 4-of-5 shots. The Wizards would stay within striking distance in the fourth quarter, trailing by eight at the most.
Down three with 3:53 to go, Porter returned to the game. Scott missed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 87-87, but Mahinmi got the offensive rebound to find Scott again, who nailed the wide open triple. Tyus Jones, who started for the inactive Jeff Teague, made a layup with 58.6 seconds left and give the Timberwolves the 89-87 lead. Porter came back out of the timeout to tie the game with a layup. Towns missed a stepback 3-pointer with 43.3 seconds left, and Porter nailed a 22-foot jump shot to give the Wizards' their first lead of the fourth quarter with 25.9 seconds left. Washington shut down two jump shots from Wiggins and forced a Jimmy Butler turnover to get the ball back with 4.2 seconds remaining. Beal would hit one of two free throws with 2.5 seconds left and the Timberwolves were out of timeouts and could not get anything better than a 72-foot heave from Towns off as time expired.
The Wizards shot 52.6% in the fourth while holding the Timberwolves to only 33.3%. Much of that defense was thanks to Mahinmi, who stifled Karl Anthony-Towns in the fourth, holding Minnesota's star center to only 2-of-6 shooting after starting the game 7-of-13. Mahinmi guarded him just about the entire quarter and bodied him, got in his head and shut him down. Mahinmi finished a game-high +18 and had eight rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks.
“He’s a very good player. He has a lot of stuff in his game," Mahinmi said of Towns. "I was just trying to make everything hard from him. Mostly try to make him put it on the floor and beat him to the spot. Contest his jumper and tonight I had success with that, so it was good.”
After struggling lately in crunch time, the Wizards found a way to deliver in Minneapolis on Tuesday night. Even on a night Beal was off offensively with only eight points on 2-of-11 shooting, Porter stepped up late in the game to hit two big shots for the win. Satoransky, Meeks, Oubre, Scott, and Mahinmi were nothing short of remarkable in the win and played heavy minutes. Marcin Gortat had three big buckets in the first quarter after the Wizards were struggling, and Tim Frazier dished out four assists in 15-plus minutes. Without their superstar point guard, the Wizards need to play as a team and focus on their defensive identity like they did on Tuesday night.
"A lot of guys played well," Scott Brooks said postgame. "It’s a great team win in a tough place to play, a very talented team. Brad didn’t shoot the ball well, but he played good defense. He made passes and got six assists. Ian had the presence that we need out of him, he was a factor defensively. Kelly came in - everybody I thought came in and did their job. Mike came in and did a good job. The bench all-in-all came in a did a good job. They basically gave us the win tonight.”
The Wizards (11-9) are off to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers Wednesday at 7:00pm.