Game Report 10: Wizards 104 Timberwolves 100
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… Trailing by 12 at halftime, the Wizards struggled to narrow the gap. Bradley Beal missed a 13-footer and then a 25-footer just seconds later. However, as the minutes rolled by, Nene scored four points and John Wall and Marcin Gortat two apiece to narrow the gap to seven points. And that’s when the Wizards started making shots. Beal sank a 23-footer and Martell Webster slammed home a dunk, both players on the receiving end of a John Wall assist. Then Gortat scored on a layup off a pass from Nene and Beal dropped a 26-footer with a Wall assist. That cut the Minnesota lead to one point and while they built it back up to five, 74-69, Washington kept coming, with Beal, Gortat and Wall all scoring before Trevor Booker got on the board with a 3-footer to give Washington an 81-79 lead. The Wizards had used the third quarter to completely eliminate their halftime deficit.
IT WAS OVER WHEN… With the Wizards leading 102-100 with five seconds to play, Washington in-bounded the pass to the one player the Timberwolves wanted at the free throw line, Nene. However, the big Brazilian, who has had major problems at the line in crucial situations this season, calmly and smoothly sank both free throws, putting the Wizkids up 104-100, the final margin of victory.
THE GOOD… The Wizards had a 33-9 advantage on fast break points and an amazing 31 assists. Washington shot 48% from the field, almost 47% on 3-pointers and a perfect 15-15 from the charity stripe. The team’s 11 turnovers meant the Wiz enjoyed an almost 3 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The fact that the Wizards had almost as many steals  as turnovers demonstrates how smartly they played tonight.
While uber-talent Kevin Love, one of the five best basketball players on the planet, lit the Wizards up in the first eight minutes of the game, Washington did a fairly good job on him after that. While Love’s 25 points and 11 rebounds seems like a lot, it’s actually less than he’s averaging in both categories on the season.
Kevin Martin, Minnesota’s second-leading scorer, averaging 24.4 points per game, was held to 11 points on 4-17 shooting. That defensive effort, along with the great ball movement by John Wall, was the key to the Washington victory.
THE BAD… The bench got outscored, as usual, but the Wiz did get some pretty good minutes from Trevor Booker and, especially, Jan Vesely, who was 4-4 from the floor, contributing eight points, 6 rebounds and two steals in only 19 minutes. They were some of the best minutes Vesely has played in the NBA.
THE UGLY… That first half wasn’t pretty, with the Wiz allowing the T-Wolves to score 63 points and lead by 12 at the break. Kevin Love looked like he might score 60 points in the game after the first eight minutes of the first quarter.
THE STUDS… John Wall missed 12 of 17 shots and scored only 14 points, but his ball movement and distribution was superb. He got everyone involved on offense and dished out 16 assists. On the other end, Wall harassed Ricky Rubio so much [3 turnovers, 2 assists] that the T-Wolves left him on the bench in much of crunch time. Bradley Beal lead the Wiz with 25 points and his defense on Kevin Martin was critical. Martin couldn’t get a decent shot off, but he kept shooting anyway and it was critical to Washington’s win. Martell Webster hit 5-10 3-pointers and scored 17 points, also grabbing a team-high 9 rebounds. The big men, Nene and Marcin Gortat, combined to shoot 14-22 for 34 points, with 12 rebounds.
THE DUDS… No one, really.
THE BENCHWARMERS… Al Harrington didn’t play [right knee] and neither did Trevor Ariza [right hamstring].
MISSING IN ACTION… Kevin Seraphin, who hasn’t looked good recently. Basically, his minutes went to Vesely [how's that for a comedown?!] and he never got out of sweatpants
THE UPSHOT IS… The Wizards are now 3-7 and 2-2 at home.