Wizards vs. Timberwolves final score: Late heroics by Otto Porter lift Washington to 92-89 win

There must have been a full moon in Minnesota Tuesday night.

At several points in the game, Washington looked dead in the water. But they continued to claw back behind the extraordinary play from Otto Porter to beat the Timberwolves, 92-89.

Otto Porter scored a game-high 22 points for Washington followed by Kelly Oubre Jr. with 16 off the bench. Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks added 12 points a piece as Washington’s bench combined for a season-high 49 points to help the team snap their two-game losing skid.

Takeaways

Otto Porter comes through in the clutch

Scott Brooks has caught heat for the lack of plays run for Otto Porter. Well, tonight, he went to Otto not once, but twice in crunch time and Porter came through for the Wizards.

First, Brooks ran a play to get Porter isolated on the block and he converted a tough layup with 55 seconds to play. The next time down the court, Otto found the ball in his hands near the right elbow to bury the jump shot and give Washington a 91-89 lead.

As a fan base, we’ve been screaming for Brooks to call Otto’s number down the stretch of games. He did so tonight, twice; and it paid off.

It’s time for Kelly Oubre to replace Markieff Morris in the starting lineup

This has been looming for a while but the stench was all too obvious tonight. From the get-go, Washington looked slower and inferior athletically, specifically at the power forward and center positions. And this is becoming a common theme night after night.

Markieff Morris is no longer on a minutes restriction so one can assume that he’s healthy. It’s unclear as to why he’s starting over Kelly Oubre as Oubre has proven to be the better player so far this season.

Oubre came in and was instant offense off the bench this evening with 16 points. Morris, on the other hand, was missing open shots, committed silly turnovers, and was no match for Taj Gibson or worse, Karl-Anthony Towns when switched onto either of them.

It’s hard to be competitive in today’s NBA if you don’t have athletic and interchangeable players in the 1-4 positions, and tonight was a prime example.

The bench provides a huge spark in the first half

In what was probably their best collective effort for a half, the bench outscored the starters 25-18 at the midway point of this game (yes, you read that correctly).

After starting the game 4 of 16 from the field, the bench sparked a run for the Wizards connecting on 10 of their next 16 field goals to regain the lead 34-32 early in the second quarter. Scott Brooks opted to go with the much-criticized all-bench lineup in the first half and it paid off as they outplayed the starters (and it wasn’t really close if we’re going to be honest).

Kelly Oubre was the first player off the Washington sideline and was in attack mode early on as he was able to navigate through the paint for some easy baskets.

Jodie Meeks, who has been less than stellar so far this year, maybe, just maybe, broke through as he scored nine points in the first half knocking down his first three three-pointers (4 of 6 overall). Meeks has had open looks this season but they hadn’t been falling, that wasn’t the case in the first half.

Meeks’ hot streak was key to Washington’s 16-2 extended run from the first quarter into the second quarter to keep the Wizards in this one.

Game Notes

  • Bradley Beal was held under 20 points for the first time in seven games.
  • Don’t look now but the #FreeSato movement is catching momentum. Sato actually received six more minutes of playing time than Frazier.
  • Three of Washington’s starters – Frazier, Morris, and Gortat did not play in the fourth quarter.
  • Ian Mahinmi played well tonight. Seriously.

Next up: The Wizards are back in action Wednesday as they take on the 76ers in a rematch of the season opener, but this time, they’ll be in Philadelphia.

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Wizards run out of gas late, fall to the Wolves, 119-104.

Karl Anthony-Towns scores a game-high 39 points while Ricky Rubio chips in with 22 as the Wolves knock off the red-hot Washington Wizards. John Wall scored 27 points while Bradley Beal added 20 but it wouldn’t be enough on a night where the Wizards just ran out of gas late.

Like we’ve become accustomed to on this road trip, the Wizards got off to a very slow start from the field. Washington committed turnovers on their first three possessions while the Wolves were hot from three-point range knocking down 4-5 attempts to start as the Wizards were in an early 17-10 hole. That hole just kept getting bigger and bigger as the Wolves scored on nine out of their last 10 possessions to end the quarter while Ricky Rubio dished out 10 assists in the period to give the Wolves a 41-23 lead.

Bojan Bogdanovic has been instant offense for the Wizards and that was the case early in the second quarter as he went on a personal 7-0 run. The Wizards kept clawing away and were able to get as close as nine behind this acrobatic layup from Wall as he was falling to the floor:

Only to hit a three-pointer the next time down. The Wizards ended the quarter on a 9-4 run and tacked on 15 fast break points to cut the lead to 8, 64-56 at halftime.

I thought the tired legs and jet lag from the prior four flights might finally kick in but it didn’t. Washington cut the lead to six on an Otto Porter jumper but the Wolves had an answer. Bradley Beal had a chance to cut the lead to five points midway through the quarter but missed a dunk only to end up in a three-pointer on the other end.

The Wizards were able to stay within striking distance as they just trailed by nine, 89-80 entering the fourth quarter.

The tired legs started kicking in in the fourth quarter. Once again, Washington quickly found themselves down 13 but gave themselves a fighting chance as Wall continued to attack the hole getting him to the free-throw line 19 times tonight. But whenever Minnesota needed a basket, they went to Karl Anthony-Towns. The Wizards had no answer for Towns as he first abused Gortat early on and then did his damage against Mahinmi.

All good things must come to an end as the Wizards ran out of gas and couldn’t dig themselves out of this hole. Wiz lose 119-104.

Wizards dig themselves an early hole again

Minnesota was on fire to start this game and the Wizards had absolutely no answer. The Wolves shot 68 percent from the field in the quarter as Rubio was dropping dime after dime for easy buckets. The Wolves connected on five of their first nine three-point attempts and ended the quarter scoring on nine of their last 10 possessions. The Wizards couldn’t dig themselves out of this one.

Where’s the defense?

During this road trip, the Wizards weren’t too keen on playing much defense. They allowed an average of 121 points to their opponents over this five-game stretch. I get it that Western Conference teams tend to run and gun more often than Eastern Conference teams but even so, it’s hard to win many games when you’re giving up 121 points per night. The Wizards must sure that up as their next few games are winnable.

John Wall finally gets the All-Star calls he deserves. He just doesn’t capitalize.

As of late, Wall has been complaining about foul calls. Well, tonight he got to the line 19 times but connected on just 14 of them (74 percent). Wall did most of his damage from the free-throw line tonight as he shot wasn’t falling at a high rate (38 percent). John Wall finally got the calls he thinks he deserves, he just didn’t capitalize.

Wall dishes out 18 assists as the Wizards get a much needed win.

A little home cooking is all the Wizards needed as they bounced back with an 112-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. Wall was serenaded with “MVP” chants as he led the team with 18 points and 18 assists tonight. Marcin Gortat had a double-double as well with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Bradley Beal was the team’s high-scorer with 22.

Gortat picked up his second foul early in the game as was forced to the bench. Jason Smith came in and not only did he hold is own, he even blocked Karl-Anthony Towns as he went up for a dunk.

The Wizards shot 65 percent in first quarter but led by just three, 32-29.

Smith continued his block party, this time as Zach LaVine was going up to dunk the ball. After some sloppy play from both teams, the Wizards utilized a 7-0 lead to take a 49-45 lead late in the second quarter. John Wall would zip as pass to Gortat for an easy dunk as the Wizards ended the quarter on a 14-3 run to lead, 56-48 at halftime.

The Wizards were able to balloon the lead to 14, 66-52, but the Wolves came back with a ferocious run. Andrew Wiggins, scored 41 points tonight and hit many tough shots in the third quarter to get the Wolves back in this one. The tables turned as the Wolves ended the quarter on a 33-14 run to take a 85-80 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Wiz started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run behind some hot shooting from Otto Porter while Wall and Gortat were running the pick-and-roll to a T. The teams alternated lead changes and ties but Wall would race down the court on two straight possessions for layups to give the Wizards the lead.

Bradley Beal would hit a three-pointer with 50 seconds left to put the Wizards up 108-103 and they wouldn’t look back. Wiz win 112-105.

MVP MVP MVP

As mentioned, Wall had 18 points and 18 assists while only committing three turnovers. Wall got his teammates involved early and didn’t crack double-digits in points until midway through the third quarter. Wall found guys in the corner for three, attacked the hole, and was executing the Pick-and-Roll with Gortat perfectly tonight. All around, an excellent performance from Wall.

Jason Smith had a really solid game

For as much crap as Jason Smith as taken this season, he had a really solid performance tonight. Smith ended the night with 10 points on 5-8 shooting and as mentioned, had two nice blocks against Towns and then Wiggins. When he was in, he was often guarding Towns and did a damn good job of holding his own. As of late, Smith has been the best player off of the Wizards bench.

Wizards have no answer for Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins was simply unstoppable tonight. The third-year star scored 41 points tonight on 16-30 shooting. Otto Porter had his hands full all night with Wiggins. Wiggins was able to get in the paint, hit tough shots over whoever was guarding him, and got to the free-throw line where he made eight of his 10 attempts. Towns ended the night with 18 points but fortunately for the Wizards, LaVine was never able to get going.

Wizards get 64 points from the bench, beat Wolves 104-98.

Bradley Beal turns in his best performance as a reserve scoring 26 points as the Wizards fend off the Wolves, 104-98. John Wall notched his 35th double-double with 14 points and 12 assists. And Alan Anderson had his best performance to date as a Wizard scoring 18 points off the bench.

The Wizards have gotten off the sluggish starts as of late and tonight was no different. The Wizards found themselves in an early 21-9 hole and this was solely due to turnovers as the Wizards committed seven in the first quarter and trailed 32-29 after one.

The Wizards got a huge spark off the bench from Bradley Beal and Alan Anderson who combined for 44 points off the bench. Anderson hit his first two threes tonight and Beal was very aggressive in the first half getting into the paint for several mid-range jumpers.

With just seconds remaining, John Wall went the length of the court for a layup as the Wizards would lead 60-54 at halftime.

The Wolves fought back and were able to tie the game at 77 late in the third quarter. But John Wall would find Bradley Beal for a corner three pointer as the Wizards would take a 80-77 lead and never trail the rest of the night.

With the Wizards lead at six late in the fourth quarter, John Wall would curl off of a Nene screen and hit a jumper to stretch the lead to eight, 104-96 with just 26 seconds to play. That would be the dagger as the Wizards win 104-98.

Bradley Beal goes off: In what may be his best game coming off the bench this season, Bradley Beal dropped 26 points on 10-15 shooting including 3-4 from long range. Beal did not settle for long twos, attacked the hole, and did not force anything tonight.

Wall found Beal in transition twice tonight for a three-pointer, something we haven’t seen from the duo in a while. Beal has been in a bit of a shooting slump as of late, maybe this was just what the doctor ordered.

Bench comes up huge: The Wizards bench outscored the starters 64-40. Yes, a lot of it was Beal who like I said, scored 26 points tonight. But Alan Anderson had his best game so far as a Wizard scoring 18 points on 6-9 shooting and going 4-7 from three-point range. Anderson was aggressive tonight and came out firing. It’ll be interesting to see if Anderson can supplant Otto in the starting lineup.

Turnovers: Just when you think the Wizards have their turnover problem fixed, a game like tonight happens. The Wizards committed 17 turnovers (7 in the first quarter, 6 in the third quarter) which allowed the Wolves to stay in this game. In the first quarter, it looked like a lack of focus. Lazy passes, Wall forcing things, it wasn’t pretty as the Wizards got off to a slow start. Luckily for the Wizards, they were playing the Wolves so they still managed to win. This is something to keep an eye out for going forward though.

Recap: Wizards at Timberwolves

Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards chose tonight to turn in their most pathetic and embarrassing performance of the season. The crowd was amped with Kevin Garnett making his return home for the Wolves. The Wizards had an early double-digit lead but ended up getting blown out 97-77. Things are really, really, really bad right now and don’t look to be getting better anytime soon.

The Wizards started this one with an early 11-1 lead even though they shot poorly to begin. Thing is, Minnesota shot just as bad and only scored 11 points in the quarter and didn’t score their first field goal until the 5:27 mark of the first quarter. The Wolves tried to get Garnett his first bucket back early on. They ran a couple of plays for him where he had wide-open jumpers he just couldn’t connect.

It was a homecoming for Humphries as well who is from the Minnesota area. He came right into the game and asserted himself with this nasty slam:

That was the only positive thing a Wizards player did tonight.

Even though they shot 32% in the first quarter, the Wizards still held a 20-11 lead.

The Wizards were able to stretch the lead out to 11 in the second quarter on back to back shots from Martell Webster (seems like the first time I’ve said that all season). Then the ice cold shooting began for the Wiz. The Wolves utilized a 9-2 run in the quarter to get back in this one. With the game tied at 42, the Wizards ran an end of quarter play which resulted in a corner 3 for Drew Gooden which got blocked.   Yeah….. The game was tied at 42 at half but you felt this one slipping away.

It officially slipped away in the third quarter as the Wolves outscored the Wizards 32-18. Andrew Wiggins was doing whatever he wanted to do against whoever was guarding him.

Nene started coming to life in the fourth quarter scoring eight straight points for this team but it was too little too late. This is by far the worst game the Wizards have played this year. To get blown out by 20 against a team who had 12 wins is pitiful. Wiz look to rebound on Friday against the 76ers.

The Wizards are 11-15 since the start of the new year; ranking them 10th out of all of the Eastern Conference teams.  In addition, this team is 2-9 in their last 11 games.  The Lakers, Knicks, and 76ers also boast a 2-9 record in their last 11 games.