Preview: Wizards return to D.C. after nine days, host Wolves Wednesday night
Capital One Arena | 7 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: 106.7 FM & Wizards App
The Wizards return to D.C. for their first game at Capital One Arena in nine days, hosting the Timberwolves at 7 p.m. Washington is coming off a four-game road trip on which it went 2-2, falling most recently to the Spurs on Monday night. Minnesota arrives at 11-10 on the season but has won seven of its last eight games.
|G||Spencer Dinwiddie||D'Angelo Russell|
|G||Bradley Beal||Anthony Edwards|
|F||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Josh Okogie|
|F||Kyle Kuzma||Taurean Prince|
|C||Daniel Gafford||Karl-Anthony Towns|
WIZARDS: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out), Aaron Holiday (non-COVID related illness – out), Isaiah Todd (right toe contusion – out)
TIMBERWOLVES: Patrick Beverley (left adductor strain – out), Anthony Edwards (flu-like symptoms – questionable), Jaden McDaniels (flu-like symptoms – out), Jaylen Nowell (non-COVID illness – questionable), Jarred Vanderbilt (flu-like symptoms)
Gafford set for key matchup vs. Towns
Coming out of an up-and-down four-game road trip, a bright spot for Washington has been the recent play of Daniel Gafford, who enters Wednesday’s game with Minnesota having notched double-doubles in each of his last two games and an NBA-season-high eight blocks the game prior.
“It’s a great thing to see,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after Monday’s game. “I think the game is slowing down for him. He understands where he needs to be and he’s making plays around the paint on both ends of the floor. He’s impactful.”
On Wednesday, Gafford will face one of his most challenging defensive assignments of the season in Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the NBA’s most dynamic frontcourt scorers. Towns has scored 25-plus points in 12 of the team’s 21 games this season and is shooting 51.3% from the field, 44.0% from three and 80.8% from the free throw line.
Wizards looking for shooting touch
After an eight-game stretch in which Washington shot over 35.0% from three, the team has hit another cold streak from beyond the arc. The Wizards are coming off a 9-31 (.290) from deep against the Spurs, the third time in their last five games they came in under 30.0%. Through 21 games, they now rank 27th in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (32.2) and will face a stiff test on Wednesday, going up against a Minnesota defense allowing the second-lowest 3-point field goal percentage in the league this season (31.5%).
Scouting the Wolves
After a slow start to the season that included a six-game losing streak, the Timberwolves are playing their best basketball of the season. Minnesota has won seven of eight games, including recent wins over the Pacers and Sixers. In their most recent outing, a 100-98 win over Indiana, the Wolves were led by three standout performances from the pillars of their young core. Towns (32 points), Anthony Edwards (21 points) and D’Angelo Russell (21 points) combined to score 74 of the team’s 100 points. Each grabbed at least eight rebounds. On the season, Towns leads the way with 23.5 points per game while Edwards comes in just behind him, averaging 22.0 points per contest. Edwards is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game with flu-like symptoms.
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