Sometimes, improbable things happen in basketball games. Gorgui Dieng, previously 3-15 on three pointers this season, hitting the tying shot to send the game to overtime is improbable. Zach LaVine hitting multiple threes from Steph Curry-range. You couldn't have predicted that Markieff Morris would leave in the first quarter with leg cramps and not return to the game.
But while Dieng and LaVine have each put themselves on the ballot for the #WizardKiller Hall of Fame, the Wizards did not just lose this game because a couple of improbable events happened. They lost the game because they let the lottery-bound Timberwolves keep the score close enough for a few improbable plays to change the outcome of the game.
The story of the first quarter was turnovers. The Wizards coughed the ball up eight times to the Timberwolves four in the first quarter. And for the rest of the game, they failed to stop Minnesota's guard penetration, allowing 54 points in the paint. They had no answer for Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished the night 12-21 (including going 1-2 from three).
Bradley Beal and John Wall traded heroics on the offensive end of the floor, but not enough to overcome the team's overall defensive dysfunction. Beal ended the night with 26 points and 5 assists. After a somewhat quiet first half, Wall finished with 22 points and 16 assists.
The game was full of weird twists and turns. Marcus Thornton was the first player off the bench. Nene and Gortat spent considerable time sharing the frontcourt. But ultimately, the Wizards played a holistically bad game of basketball, and they lost.
Between tonight's loss and Detriot's win tonight over Charlotte, the Wizards' playoff hopes are bleak. They have a lot of ground to make up, now 3.5 games back. The Wizards head to Los Angeles to play the Lakers this Sunday.