September 21, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 24 Review: Wiz down Wolves to go 12 games over .500

13-2 RECORD EXTENDS BEST HOME START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

The Washington Wizards defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-95, Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. John Wall tied a career high with 17 assists to go along with 21 points while Rasual Butler led the Wizards with 23 points off the bench. It was the Wizards’ fifth straight victory.

Washington (18-6) is now 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1978-79 season when they finished the campaign at 54-28.

“I think [Wall] still has the best ahead of him,” coach Randy Wittman said of his soaring superstar. “I want him to keep driving. He’s really been understanding that there’s nothing to rest on here. We have a chance, and he has an opportunity from a leadership standpoint, to continue to push this team. I want him to continue that, I don’t want him to take his foot off the pedal and be satisfied.”

Thaddeus Young led Minnesota with 29 points. Georgui Dieng contributed 12 points along with a team-high 12 rebounds, while Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points off the bench.

The Wizards surrendered the opening basket but never trailed again, building a 14-2 lead. The Wizards extended the lead to 27-16 after the first quarter and led by 10, 46-36, at halftime.

“I think we came out ready and focused,” Wittman said. “We knew that we wanted to establish ourselves defensively and we got some stops right out of the box. We got out with great pace in transition. I thought after we did that, it was a game that I should’ve ordered some popcorn.”

Young scored 19 of his 29 points in the third quarter as Minnesota tried to chip away at the Wizards’ lead. The T-wolves cut the lead to 74-69 going into the fourth quarter before the Wizards pulled away behind Butler’s 18 points in the frame.

“[Young] was unbelievable in the third quarter,” Wittman said. “We actually played pretty good defense, it’s just one of those guys that got hot. We were able to withstand that.”

“I am just the recipient of playing with one of the best point guards in the NBA in John Wall,” Butler said, when asked what go him going in the fourth. “He does a great job reading defenses, and manipulating defenses. Marcin (Gortat), Nene, those guys set really good screens, and I was open on the weak side, and my teammates did a good job finding me.”

Minnesota shot only 57.1 percent from the line, going 20 for 35, while Washington went 10 for 17 from three-point range.

About Derek Norin

Derek Norin is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He is also the Washington Capitals correspondent for Pro Hockey News and is a contributor to Talk the Red. Derek was a copy editor for three different student publications at Ohio State and was a founder of the newspaper, the OSU Sentinel, that would become the OSU Rubicon today. Derek has been a member of SABR, SIHR, and PFRA. Derek put together www.capshistory.com, a history of the Capitals franchise told in Youtube videos. You can follow Derek on Twitter @dereknorin.

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