The Wizards extended their win streak to four tonight with a 104-98 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota. With the win, they are now just half a game behind Detroit for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Timberwolves did not go down quietly, however. Despite taking several double-digit leads, the Wizards could not maintain control of the game. They particularly struggled to keep the young Wolves out of the paint, allowing Minnesota to get to the line for 34 free throws.
It appeared that the Wizards had secured the victory when a step-back jumper from Nene gave them a 102-90 lead with 2:24 left to play. But consecutive trips to the line for Karl Anthony-Towns, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio cut the Timberwolves deficit to six. And it easily could have been four: Nene drew a charge on Towns with less than a minute to go, narrowly erasing Towns’ field goal. But a clutch jumper from John Wall gave the Wizards a comfortable separation, and they held on to win 104-98.
Bradley Beal comes up huge
Beal scored an efficient 26 points (10/15 from the field, 3-4 from three) and he did it in a variety of ways: Floaters, slams on the break, pull up threes, and of course the classic Wall-to-Beal spot up transition spot-up three.
Panda Slam! #WizWolves pic.twitter.com/q10nRcbp6g— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 3, 2016
Turnovers were a problem
Turnovers were a big problem for the Wizards earlier this season, as they struggled to adapt to a faster-paced system while integrating a few new rotation players. But they’ve actually cleaned it up quite a bit of late, averaging just 12.1 per 100 possessions (5th best in the league) in the twelve games since the All-Star Break.
Tonight, however, bad habits crept back in. The Wizards committed four turnovers in their first five possessions, eight total in the first half and 17 on the game.
Lucky for the Wizards, the Timberwolves had turnover issues of their own, committing 19 in the game, 6 in the fourth quarter alone.
Alan Anderson lights it up
In just his fourth game played for the Wizards after missing nearly the entire season, Anderson pored on 18 points on just nine shots, hitting 4-7 from three. Anderson was also all over the court defensively. He did pick up four fouls, but it’s hard not to appreciate the constant effort.