Wizards overcome Wiggins' 41, beat T'Wolves
WASHINGTON — Andrew Wiggins rebounded from a brutal offensive performance in the Timberwolves' previous game with a showing against the Wizards that reminded all he was selected first overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. It just wasn't enough to take down — or rather, slow down — another former No. 1 pick.
John Wall had 18 points and a season-high 18 assists as the Washington Wizards survived 41 points from Wiggins for a 112-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards (17-18) with 22 points as Washington won its ninth straight home game.
Marcin Gortat went 9 of 9 from the field for 19 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. The Wizards shot 58.2 percent from the field for a needed win after losing two games during a brief Texas road trip.
Wall had six assists alone in the fourth quarter as Washington outscored Minnesota 32-20 after blowing a 14-point lead in the third quarter.
"We were getting stops and John had a lot of opportunities in transition," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "It was a great floor game."
Washington needed that kind of offensive performance to offset Wiggins, who scored 25 points in the second half. His pull-up jumper put Minnesota (11-25) up 101-99 with left. Washington countered with the next six points to take the lead for good as the Timberwolves reverted into some poor habits.
"We can't keep trading buckets with other teams," Wiggins said. "We have to get stops and play together defensively."
Wall's speed fueled the surge as he evaded Minnesota's Zach LaVine for the second of two layups.
"Killed us, you know," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Eighteen assists, pushed the ball, made plays so you know it only takes one guy to drive back and that crushes you."
Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves (11-25), who have lost three straight. Gorgui Dieng finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Wiggins labored offensively in Minnesota's 93-91 loss at the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, scoring just eight points on 2-of-15 shooting from the field. Epitomizing his uneven season, he sank 16 of 30 shots against Washington before the crowd of 18,686.
"Wiggins is a great basketball," Dieng said. "I talk to him a lot. He cannot pick and choose when he wants to play. He's a good basketball player. We need him to play like this every night. ... He's our leader. He needs to play like this every night."
LaVine, part of Minnesota's impressive young trio with Wiggins and Towns, had the rough time offensively this game. He finished 3 of 14 for eight points.
The Wizards used a 24-7 run overlapping halftime for a 66-52 lead with 9:15 remaining in the third quarter. His 3-pointer started a ferocious rally as Minnesota outscored Washington 33-14 for an 85-80 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"We went up (14) and then we just stopped playing defense," said Wall, the top selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. "We got cool, they got into transition and scored some easy baskets and they got back into the game."
The game of big swings continued as the Wizards opened the fourth quarter with nine straight points as Jason Smith's jumper put Washington up 89-85. Wall credited "Defensive stops" for sealing the win. The point guard's passing did as well.
Otto Porter scored 17 points and Markieff Morris had 15 as all five of Washington's starters reached double figures. Smith had 10 off the bench.
Morris had 13 in the first half as Washington closed the second quarter with a 14-3 run for a 56-48 halftime lead.
"John is always facilitating like that so it is a lot easier playing with him," Morris said. "You just have to make some shots. It is as simple as that."