Sometimes statistics can be misleading, but not Wednesday.
Nene had seven turnovers. John Wall had six, including on a play in the final minute, as the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled out an 87-82 victory at home.
Every time the Wizards took control, they bumbled and stumbled away their leads. In the end, they had a season-high 24 turnovers that led to 30 points for the Timberwolves.
“We’re not going to beat anybody with the carelessness we had,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We just don't value the basketball at all. ... We just throw it all over."
The Wizards took a 73-65 lead to start the fourth quarter, and the score was tied at 79 with 4:32 left in the game.
Nene was being harassed by J.J. Barea on a double-team and couldn't make a move to the basket. His teammates were stationary and he had no passing lanes to relieve the pressure. Nene picked up his fifth foul -- and seventh turnover -- when he cleared out Barea with his left arm out of frustration.
On the Wizards’ next possession, center Emeka Okafor received the ball abut 18 feet from the basket. Again, no one moved without the ball and he became uncomfortable with the shot clock running down. That forced the 6-foot-10 Okafor to put the ball on the floor as he made a move into the paint. He was called for traveling.
The Timberwolves led 83-82 but the Wizards still had a chance to pull out the win in spite of themselves. Wall, who made four of his first four jump shots, missed an open three-point attempt. Okafor responded on the next play by rotating on help defense to block a layup by Barea.
That gave Washington yet another chance. Wall pushed the pace as he went at Barea, who stepped underneath to go for the steal. He didn't get the ball, but Barea forced Wall to change directions. As Wall turned, Ricky Rubio swiped the ball and threw an outlet pass to Barea. His layup gave them an 85-82 lead and sucked the air out the Wizards' last gasp.
It was Wall’s sixth giveaway. He has 20 in the last four games and the Wizards are 1-3, including a one-point loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"I just thought we weren't into the flow of the offense very early and we had just careless turnovers," said Wall. "It was passes that were there, but we waited too late or made it a tougher pass than it was. That let them get themselves back in the game. We just feel like we gave this game away."