Instant analysis: Wizards 104, Timberwolves 100

Instant analysis: Wizards 104, Timberwolves 100
November 19, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Highlights: Wizards hold on vs. T'Wolves

Coach Randy Wittman said he wanted John Wall to play more like Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, but he did better than that.

Wall led the Wizards (3-7) from a 16-point deficit in the first half, and made a key jump shot in the final minutes and an assist to Martell Webster for the go-ahead three-pointer, for their second victory at Verizon Center. It also ended a four-game losing streak.

All five starters for the Wizards scored in double figures, led by Bradley Beal with 25 points. Nene had 18 points and Webster, who made 5 of 10 three-pointers, contributed 17. 

Webster's three-pointer, on a dish from Wall, put the Wizards back ahead 100-98 with less than a minute left and Nene's two free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining sealed the victory.

[RELATED: Jan Vesely shows skill at both ends]

The Wizards overcame a shaky first half where they were effective on offense but struggled to make the Timberwolves (7-5) miss. Kevin Love had 17 of his team-high 25 points in the first two quarters when his team shot 52.3 percent from the field. Love was held to one point in the fourth quarter. 

Sharpshooter Kevin Martin had a clutch three-pointer to give Minnesota its final lead at 98-97, but he finished just 4-for-17 shooting for 11 points. 

Rubio was held to 10 points and just two assists. 

Turning point: The Wizards opened the third quarter trailing 63-51, but they went on a 19-6 run. Wall tallied seven assists and fed Beal for two three-pointers and Webster for one as they drew even at 81 going into the fourth.

Best in show: Wall. He returned to play the floor game that he needed -- not worrying about his shot and setting up his teammates -- for his best performance of the season. He only shot 5-for-17 but they were mostly high-percentage looks as he finished with 14 points, 16 assists and five rebounds. He also had just one turnover. 

Surprise: Jan Vesely was everywhere and was a major factor in 19 minutes. He made all four of his shots for eight points, grabbed six rebounds and had two steals. The first one came at the end of the first quarter as he tossed the ball to Eric Maynor who threw it back to Vesely for an alley-oop that cut the deficit to 32-27. He was a major factor in defending Love, who had several shots in the paint come up short because of Vesely's help defense for Nene. 

Rotation shift: Wittman went deep into his bench early. Garrett Temple was the first guard to come in after Beal was called for two fouls in the first quarter. Maynor, who didn't play in the previous game because Wittman was unhappy with his pressure on the ball, came in with 1:37 left in the first. Trevor Booker started the first three games at power forward and then disappeared. His 11 minutes were the most for him since Nov. 3. Booker didn't play in the previous game, either. 

Key stats: The Wizards had just 11 turnovers, 31 assists and shot 48.2 percent from the field. They stayed close with one the NBA's best rebounding teams, losing that battle just 42-41 with Webster having a team-high nine. 

DNP: Kevin Seraphin didn't make an appearance for the first time this season. Al Harrington (right knee) and Trevor Ariza (right hamstring) were inactive. 

From the locker room: "After the initial barrage he had in the first eight minutes, I thought our guys just battled their tails off against him. This is as good as I've seen somebody play him. Nene, Book and Jan took their shots at him as well. That was a good performance. That's a hard guy to cover, a guy that can shoot threes and post up, a very high IQ. I thought he was going to have 70 after the first eight minutes." -- Wittman on defending Love. 

"We started off playing as a team. Then we stopped a little bit in the second quarter. Kevin Love got into a streak where he got hot and he started making a lot of shots. ... They got anything they wanted without anybody pressuring the ball. We just wanted to do that for the second half. We made plays down the stretch of the fourth quarter. Even though they made shots, we made bigger ones and got a couple of stops." -- Wall 

"We did a great (in the) second half. First half we played horrible. We weren't there defensively. We had no energy. The second half we did a great job coming up, more energetic and more focused on the defensive end. We were able to convert on the offensive end and make a lot of big shots, a lot of open threes, a lot of corner threes. Just a lot of big plays by everybody. Our defense is what won for us." -- Beal

"They're very good in transition. They know that that's how they are going to get the majority of their points. For us, it's a good learning experience. Whether it is a made shot or missed shot, we just need to get back against a good transition team like that." -- Love

"We made them guard us the first half and we got back OK. But as the game went on they just attacked us." Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman

Up next: The Wizards play at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). It'll be their second set of back-to-backs of the season. 

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