January 28, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 10 Review: Wall’s 16 assists help Wizards break losing streak

After losing four straight, the Washington Wizards entered Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, desperate to snap a streak that has landed them last place in the Southeast Division.

With the help of Bradley Beal’s 25 points and John Wall’s career-high 16 assists, the Wizards bounced back late in the game. But, in order to do so, they had to quiet Minnesota’s Kevin Love, who tallied 16 points in the first quarter alone.

Fortunately for Washington, Love posted just nine more for the remainder of the game. In the meantime, J.J. Barea and Robbie Hummel sank back-to-back threes with about seven minutes left in the first half, giving the Wizards a 16-point deficit to work with.

Beal’s jumper with 2:53 remaining marked his last of eight points scored in the quarter. Nene added a layup and Marcin Gortat tipped one in to help the Wizards gain ground in Minnesota’s rearview mirror, but Corey Brewer’s late basket and Love’s free throw pushed the Timberwolves to a 63-51 lead at the buzzer.

In the third quarter, it was Martell Webster who helped Washington gain momentum. Webster’s dunk with 6:28 remaining helped the Wizards pull within four, down 68-64. Ricky Rubio made two free throws off a shooting foul by Nene, but Gortat answered with a layup before Beal sank a timely three.

A three by Webster and a jumper by Beal allowed the Wizards to tie the game at last with 3:02 left in the quarter. Rubio and Love kept Washington close, but the two teams entered the fourth quarter tied 81 points apiece.

Webster remained on fire in the fourth quarter and, with 42 seconds left to play, his 26-footer put Washington up 100-98.

Beal drew a foul off Love and made both his free baskets, which was just enough to keep Washington in front. Brewer made a layup to make it 102-100 Washington, but Nene’s two free shots with six seconds remaining sealed the Wizards’ 104-100 win.

While Beal and Webster provided some much-needed baskets for Washington, it was Wall who kept hope of a comeback alive. As it’s been said time and again, Wall’s ability to move the ball often determines the outcome of the game. And, in Tuesday night’s matchup, the observation held true. In addition to recording 16 assists, Wall turned the ball over just once.

“Sixteen assists is a heck of game and that’s what [Wall did] tonight,” said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman after the game. “He can get deflections, come up with steals, rebound the ball, push the ball in transition, find Bradley Beal and find Martell Webster. That’s what he can do. It’s not based on points. He cannot think that way – I don’t want him thinking that way. I want him to be a solid point guard. That’s a solid point guard right there. I mean to get 16 assists, going through a tough shooting night, staying with it to come up with 16 assists. It’s a continued growth pattern with him.”

The Wizards are now 2-2 at the Verizon Center and have just one additional win on the road this season.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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