Wolves stumble at Washington
WASHINGTON — Guard Bradley Beal scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and point guard John Wall matched his career high with 16 assists as the Washington Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak with a 104-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Wizards small forward Martell Webster scored 17 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 42.9 seconds remaining. Brazilian big man Nene scored 20 points and Wall had 14 for Washington (3-7).
Power forward Kevin Love had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who led 63-51 at halftime behind seven 3-pointers.
One of the league’s top defensive teams last season, Washington returned to its guarding roots in the second half, holding Minnesota to 18 points in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth.
Wall’s jumper with 1:26 remaining broke a 95-95 tie, but the Timberwolves (7-5) regained the lead as guard Kevin Martin countered with a 3-pointer on Minnesota’s next possession. Washington didn’t trail for long, as Webster followed with his fifth 3-pointer for a 100-98 lead. Beal and Nene each hit two free throws inside the final 13 seconds.
Love has at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in 10 of Minnesota’s 12 games this season, but he scored only one point in the fourth quarter, missing all four of his field-goal attempts.
Wall posted his own double-double midway through the third quarter, and he doled out seven assists in the period. Washington had 31 assists on 41 baskets.
The Wizards took their first lead since the opening quarter at 75-74 late in the third quarter on Beal’s three-point play.
Forward Corey Brewer scored 16 points, center Nikola Pekovic had 13 and Martin 11 for the Timberwolves, who lost for the second time in three games.
Love started his NBA career in Minnesota under current Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, who dissuaded the rookie power forward from taking 3-pointers. Now a proficient and prolific long-range threat, Love sank three 3s in the first quarter.
Minnesota shot 60 percent from the field in the opening period and led by 16 points in the first half. Robbie Hummel’s shot from beyond the arc gave the visitors a 53-37 lead midway through the second quarter. The Timberwolves’ 63 first-half points were the most by a Wizards opponent this season.
The Timberwolves missed 10 of 13 3-point attempts after halftime, and they wound up shooting 43.5 percent from the floor. Washington hit 48.2 percent of its shots.
Notes: F Trevor Ariza, Washington’s third-leading scorer, missed his second consecutive game with a strained right hamstring. Wizards F Al Harrington (sore right knee) sat for a third consecutive game. ... Timberwolves G Ricky Rubio entered Tuesday leading the NBA in steals (3.09) and ranking second in assists (9.6), one spot ahead of Wizards G John Wall (9.1) ... Former Wizards head coach Flip Saunders, now the Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, attended the game. ... Minnesota G A.J. Price, who played 57 games for the Wizards last season, faced his former team for the first time. ... Minnesota returns home to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, the same day Washington plays at the Cleveland Cavaliers.