Washington Wizards Win Fourth Straight vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Mar 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) goes to the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Greg Smith (4) goes to defend during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) goes to the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Greg Smith (4) goes to defend during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards Win Fourth Straight In Minnesota

Since the Washington Wizards are battling hard for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, every game becomes a “must win” situation.

Wednesday night’s game against a talented, but super young and erratic Minnesota Timberwolves team was no different. The Wizards started the game off with a couple of bad turnovers and looked like they were going to have one of “those” games where they pull a no-show and lose a game they should win.

The first quarter was about as bad as a showing as the Wizards have had all season and at one point were down 21 – 9. Enter Alan Anderson.

The 10 year vet was inserted into the game in the first quarter and immediately made his presence felt with five straight points to keep the Wizards close. The quarter ended on a hilariously bad foul called on friend of the site, Jared Dudley, attempting to contest a Zach LaVine three pointer at the first quarter buzzer.

LaVine’s free throws put the Timberwolves up three going into the second quarter. The Wizards got somewhat back on track in the second quarter.

The team played solid defense and flustered the young Timberwolves into taking bad shots and making rushed bad passes. Led by Bradley Beal, who was coming off maybe one of his worse games of the season versus the Philadelphia 76’ers on Monday, the Washington Wizards’ offense started to click and would eventually take a 10 point lead in the second quarter.

The Wolves went on a mini run to cut the Wizards’ lead to four only to have their momentum halted by a lightning quick John Wall dash-and-score to end the quarter to put Washington up 60-54 going into the half.

A couple of first half observations: in order for this Wizards team to reach its potential, Alan Anderson might have to start playing more minutes in place of starting small forward Otto Porter Jr.

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Anderson looks more comfortable shooting the three and seemed to be in the right place for a couple of loose balls and defensive sets.

Plus, he fits the mold of the type of player that John Wall loves.

He’s a vet that knows exactly where his sweet spots are and that rarely misses.

The first half of the season, Dudley played that part well, but it looks like going down the stretch that Anderson will be that guy for the team.

Also, Bradley Beal has to start.

The whole minutes restriction thing was nice and probably the correct way to handle Beal’s frail-ish type bones and more importantly his mental game. The Wizards are clearly a more dangerous team with Beal in the lineup and if they want to have a chance to slip into the playoffs, Coach Randy Wittman has to go with Beal from this point.

The third quarter was a back and forth sloppy effort from both teams.

John Wall seemed to be pressing too hard and ended up having a few bad turnovers. Wall also continually went under screens to let Rubio shot. I’m not sure if that was in the team’s gameplan on defense, but it was costing the Wizards early on in the half.

Neither team played well enough to get any separation during the quarter. It was just a bunch of bad turnovers and possibly the most charges I have ever seen during an NBA game. I almost thought I was watching a Duke game with all of the flops and charges being taken.

One of the things I find bizarre about this Wolves team was how much they DON’T go to Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins, who has the talent to be a bonafied superstar, was mainly invisible and had a few jumpers here and there. He looked mainly detached during the game. After a quick 5 – 0 scoring run which featured a Ramon Sessions three at the end of the quarter, the Wizards took an 85-77 lead into the fourth quarter.

Once again, enter Alan Anderson.

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Anderson, a Minneapolis native, showed exactly why the coaches and players were anxious to get him back in uniform and playing this season for the Washington Wizards.

Between his almost automatic three pointer and his crafty veteran play on both sides of the floor, the Wizards start off strong and build an 12 point lead during the quarter and they never trailed again.

To their credit, the Wolves never quit and even pulled to within six, but the Wizards ended up being too much at the end.

All and all, while this was a less than stellar game for most of the Wizards, it was a needed win that the Wizards may not have pulled out even a month ago with a weaker team. Markieff Morris is now starting at the power forward spot and is getting used to the offense more and more.

Morris brings a more athletic presence at the four spot that the Wizards didn’t previously have. Alan Anderson was very impressive and is definitely showing that he was worth the wait.

Ultimately, this team is going to live and die by the star back court of Bradley Beal and John Wall and both had outstanding games. Wall had another double-double (14 points, 12 assists) and Beal gave the Wizards 26 points (with 3 three pointers) off the bench.

Next: Chatting with Jared Dudley (WizofAwes Podcast)

The Wizards will now head to Cleveland to face the same Cavaliers team that they just blew out on Sunday (sans LeBron James). It should be a good one.