Sweeping a five game road trip was improbable. But then again, so was sweeping four road games in five nights. So was coming back from two huge halftime deficits. So was winning back to back overtime games on the road. The Wizards kept finding ways to win.
But the Wizards couldn’t do this last improbable thing. They fell to the Timberwolves 119-104, ending their Western Conference road trip 4-1.
John Wall lead the Wizards with 27 points and 5 assists.
Karl-Anthony Towns lead the way for Minnesota with 39 points on 26 shots. Ricky Rubio had a career-high 18 assists.
Massive first quarter deficit
You thought the 21 point halftime deficit in Portland was big? How about a 21 point deficit in the first quarter? The Wizards came out of the gate with tired legs and tired minds. Three-point defense hasn’t been a strength for this team over the past few years, but I’m not sure Brandon Rush had been this open from three since he was filling in for Harrison Barnes in Golden State. Rush was 3-3 from three in the first quarter.
Ricky Rubio sliced through the Wizards defense like he was John Wall, totaling ten assists in the first quarter alone. On the other end, the Wizards committed three consecutive turnovers to start the game.
But the Wizards chipped away at the deficit, first getting a major spark from the bench trio of Brandon Jennings, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tomas Satoransky.
Wall and Beal (who combined to go a horrific 5-18 from the floor in the first half) continued the comeback with a flurry of scoring to end the second quarter. The Wizards ended the first half down 56-64.
The defense couldn’t get it done.
Wizards came out hot in the third quarter. Wall gave up his jump shot ran as hard as he could at the rim possession after possession. Mostly, it worked. Wall shot a season-high 16 free throws and finished some wild shots at the rim. Despite a poor shooting night as a team, the Wizards found ways to score.
But the Wizards couldn’t string together enough stops. For every little run they put together, the Timberwolves answered. Washington cut the lead to five points with less then five minutes to play, but ultimately couldn’t stop Minnesota’s final scoring push.
Ian Mahinmi fouled out of the game in 22 minutes of play.
It’s tough to blame the Wizards for a poor defensive showing at the end of a long road trip. But this isn’t an isolated incident. Since the All Star break the team has had one of the worst defensive ratings in the league (24th coming into tonight’s game, per nba.com/stats). It’s a small sample of games, but it’s a trend to keep an eye on.
Bonus Bradley Beal Highlight
The Wizards will look to bounce back against the Mavericks in the Verizon Center on Wednesday.