Wizards face Timberwolves in D.C.
The Wizards will host the Timberwolves on Sunday in the first matchup of the season between the two teams. After splitting two games away from Capital One Arena, the Wizards return home for a two-game homestand. For Minnesota, this is the last game of a three-game road trip. They lost their previous two games in Atlanta and Indiana, and have struggled on the road this season with a 9-23 record.
Capital One Arena | 6:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Bobby Portis
Timberwolves: G – Jeff Teague, G – Josh Okogie, F – Andrew Wiggins, F – Dario Saric, C – Karl Anthony-Towns
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left Achilles tendon tear – out)
Timberwolves: Robert Covington (right knee – out), Luol Deng (left Achilles – game-time decision),
Home, sweet home
The Wizards will play seven of their next nine games at home, hosting Western Conference teams in five of the seven games. After starting the season 3-5 at Capital One Arena, the Wizards are 14-7 at home since November 20. Overall on the year, the Wizards are outscoring opponents by 2.8 points per 100 possessions at home. They rank fourth in the NBA in points scored per game at home at 117.0. On the other hand, the Timberwolves are giving up 38.9% 3-point shooting away from home, and have been outscored by 4.5 points per 100 possessions on the road overall. If the Wizards are to make a playoff push in these final 20 games, getting it going at home the next few weeks will be pivotal.
In three games since the All-Star break, Towns is averaging 37.7 points and 18.7 rebounds per game on 60.6% shooting and 47.8% from 3-point. On Thursday against the Pacers, Towns scored 23 points in the first quarter, the most he’s scored in a quarter in his career. Last season in D.C., Towns scored 37 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on 13-of-17 shooting in the Wolves’ win over the Wizards. Towns has one of the best skillsets among big men in the league, able to beat opponents from inside and out. Look for the Wizards to throw a lot of different looks at the All-Star Towns, which may include putting Ian Mahinmi on him. In Minnesota last season, Mahinmi and Towns were getting a bit chippy. Mahinmi held Towns to six points on 3-of-8 shooting and forced two turnovers on 30 possessions.
Timberwolves twice this week
In addition to Sunday’s game, the Wizards and Timberwolves will play Saturday in Minneapolis. Reminiscent of a playoff format, playing another team twice in one week – let alone a team from the other conference – is very rare. The Wizards are 19-9 all-time in D.C. against the Timberwolves, though both teams won on the road last season. Strangely enough, the two teams have alternated wins in their last 18 meetings, dating back to March 9, 2009.