Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster night against Washington, scoring 37 points on 17 shots, and sealing the victory with critical plays on both ends. First, he hit a 3-pointer to put the Timberwolves up by five with 29 seconds left. Then, after Markieff Morris made a layup and the Wizards forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound pass, he swarmed Bradley Beal and forced him into a tough pass Jeff Teague picked off for an easy layup to seal Washington’s fate.
Washington is no stranger to losing winnable games this season, but this one is especially rough given Minnesota’s struggles in late-game situations. Going into this game, Minnesota was 23rd in fourth quarter net rating and 21st in clutch net rating.
Markieff Morris shoulders the load
Even without Jimmy Butler in the lineup, the Timberwolves kept both Bradley Beal and Otto Porter in check, limiting them to 27 points on 30 shots.
Washington got unexpected help from Markieff Morris, who turned in arguably his best game of the season, scoring a season-high 27 points on a variety of different shots. He was 3-of-5 from deep, made some nice off-ball cuts to get easy layups, and did work in the low-post as well against the Timberwolves’ frontcourt.
Everything’s fine with Ian Mahinmi
After picking up his first DNP-CD of the season, Mahinmi responded with an up-and-down game against Minnesota. The Timberwolves played big while Mahinmi was in the game, which played right to some of his strengths. He could play more conservatively on pick-and-rolls and focus more of his defensive attention on stopping guys in the low-post.
Towns still wound up having a big game in spite of Mahinmi’s defensive efforts, but at least he responded with some offense of his own, finishing with 10 points and 5 offensive rebounds in 22 minutes.
In summary, he had a few good moments and several bad ones. That’s par for the course with Ian. He’s the same player he was before this random three-game blip in which he only played 10 minutes.
- The Wizards gave up 64 points in the paint, the second-most they’ve given up in a game this season. The only game in which they gave up more was Saturday when they gave up 76 against the Heat. That’s 140 points in the paint in a two-game span.
- Kelly Oubre ability to explode in tight spots is so valuable. Most players in Oubre’s spot in this play would have to settle for a floater or trying to kick it out to someone else, but he can just elevate and detonate over whoever is in his way.
- Remember how nervous Tomas Satoransky looked last season? Could you ever imagine him doing something like this in the last two minutes of a close game?
Next up: The Wizards travel to Boston to take on the Celtics Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET.