Wall has 18 assists and 18 points, Wizards beat Timberwolves
By HARVEY VALENTINE
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a night when Andrew Wiggins was nearly unstoppable, John Wall made sure the Washington Wizards did enough to get their ninth straight home victory.
Wall had a season-high 18 assists and scored 18 points to help the Wizards beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-105 on Friday night.
Wiggins had 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting, but it wasn’t enough on a night the Wizards shot 58.2 percent (46 of 79).
“A lot of times I could have taken the drive to the basket, but I knew (Bradley Beal) was getting it going,” Wall said. “I was trying to find him in transition, and find Otto (Porter Jr.) and those guys and they were knocking down shots.”
Beal had 22 points and Marcin Gortat hit all nine of his field-goal attempts and scored 19 points. Porter added 17 points and Markieff Morris had 15 for the Wizards. They have won 10 of 15 overall.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has dropped six of its last eight. Gorgui Dieng added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Zach Lavine had eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Wiggins bounced back after scoring eight points in a loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t mean nothing,” Wiggins said. “We lost because of our defense. So, what we did offensively doesn’t mean nothing at the end of the day.”
After Wiggins gave Minnesota its first lead since early in the fourth quarter, 101-99 with 2:50 left, Porter tied it with a jumper, and Wall scored on two fast-break layups to make it 105-101 with 140 left.
Wall totaled eight points and six assists in the fourth quarter.
“He killed us,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I mean, 18 assists, pushed the ball, made plays, so. It only takes one guy to jog back (on defense) and then that crushes you.”
Wiggins’ dunk pulled the Wolves within two, but Beal made a 3-pointer. Wiggins hit another jumper, and Gortat’s layup gave Washington a five-point lead with 48 seconds left as Washington scored on five straight possessions.
Wiggins missed on Minnesota’s next possession, and nobody scored again until Wall hit two free throws with 8.3 seconds left.
The Wizards opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to take an 89-85 lead.
Minnesota trailed 66-52 early in the third, but Wiggins (16 points in the quarter) sparked a comeback that saw the Wolves hit 15 of 23 shots and score 37 points in the period to lead 85-80 entering the fourth.
“We got the lead and then we relaxed,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “Then Wiggins got extremely hot and it was hard to turn him off.”
Timberwolves: Wiggins scored 15 points in the first quarter on 6-of-10 shooting. … F Shabazz Mahammad (illness) was inactive. … G Brandon Rush played for the first time in 12 games and finished with a season-high 10 points. The Wolves are 3-21 when allowing 100 or more points.
Wizards: The franchise record for consecutive home wins is 22 during the 1974-75 season. … It was the fifth game in which Wall topped 15 points and 15 assists. His career high is 19 assists. … Gortat (10 rebounds) has 21 double-doubles.
The game matched the league’s two lowest-scoring reserve units. Minnesota’s bench came in ranked 30th, contributing 21.8 points per game, while Washington was 29th with 23.7 points. The Chicago Bulls, ranked 28th, are getting 29.4 points per game from their bench.
“He did a great job of setting screens for us, running to the basket, offensive rebounds he goes up, when he’s dunking the ball and finishing around the paint it makes us a better team,” Wall said about Gortat’s perfect night from the field. “We try to tell him to stay away from the free-throw line and jump shots.”
Timberwolves: Host Utah on Saturday night.
Wizards: At Milwaukee on Sunday.