|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , March 9, 2019
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Attendance: 14,381
Timberwolves aim for improved defensive showing against Wizards
Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves
- With Washington's 135-121 home win over the Timberwolves on March 3, these teams have alternated wins over their last 19 meetings going back to March 2009 -- the longest such streak in any series in NBA history.
- Over its last 13 games, Minnesota is 1-8 on the road but 4-0 at home. For the season the T-wolves are 11 games over .500 at home (21-10) compared to 16 games under .500 on the road (9-25).
- The Timberwolves have allowed 123.5 points per game since the All-Star break, second most in the NBA (Hawks, 123.8). They've given up at least 120 points in each of their last five games, the longest such streak in franchise history.
- Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 20 or more points in 12 straight games (30.9 ppg), the second-longest streak of his career. He had 24 points in Wednesday's loss to Detroit, but fouled out for an NBA-high eighth time this season; he had fouled out of four games over his first three NBA seasons combined.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves have been extremely generous on the defensive end, with star Karl-Anthony Towns recently labeling the team's performance at that end of the court as "embarrassing."
Well, things haven't gotten any better as the Timberwolves are surrendering an average of 127.8 points over their last five games.
Minnesota, which has losses in four in its last five contests, will look locate its missing defense on Saturday when it opens a brief two-game homestand against the Washington Wizards.
The Timberwolves were unable to ride the momentum of a fast start on Wednesday, as their 58.1 percent shooting in the first half gave way to their opponent piling up 71 points in the second half of a 131-114 setback in Detroit.
"You have to take care of the ball when you have it, and you have to be able to get extra chances by forcing turnovers," interim coach Ryan Saunders said. "We didn't do any of that (on Wednesday)."
Towns had a team-high 24 points in that contest, although his six turnovers before fouling out aided in Minnesota's demise.
The two-time All-Star center also put up strong offensive numbers in Sunday's 135-121 setback to Washington, going 12-for-18 from the field for 28 points while adding a season high-tying seven assists.
Towns' performance helped the Timberwolves score 84 points in the paint that night, however Minnesota shot itself in the foot with a porous 4-of-27 performance from beyond the arc.
All-NBA defender Robert Covington's absence in 2019 due to a knee injury has been one of the primary reasons for the club's woes at that end of the court, per Saunders.
"We initially probably thought Robert was going to be back a little bit earlier just in terms of timetable," Saunders said.
Veteran guard Derrick Rose mirrored his season average by scoring 18 points off the bench against the Wizards, however he made just 4 of 9 shots to finish with eight points versus the Pistons.
Forward Andrew Wiggins has shot well from the field in each of his last three games, going 6 for 12 in his 14-point performance against Washington before combining to go 15 for 30 in his next two outings. He finished with 18 points in both contests.
Wizards forward Bobby Portis collected 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field to go along with 12 rebounds in the previous encounter with the Timberwolves. Portis nearly matched those totals on Friday, recording 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor to go along with nine boards in a 112-111 loss to Charlotte.
Bradley Beal and reserve Jabari Parker each scored 22 points against Minnesota and added 15 apiece versus the Hornets.
Friday's setback was Washington's sixth in its last nine games overall and fifth in six road contests, dropping the club to 8-26 away from home. The Wizards will open a five-game homestand after visiting the Timberwolves.
Rookie forward Troy Brown Jr., who envisions himself as a spark plug, matched season highs in points (nine) and rebounds (five) on Friday to along with four assists. He had a campaign-best five assists in the first meeting with the Timberwolves.
"He's earned it," Wizards coach Scott Brooks told the Washington Times of Brown's increasing playing time. "He's worked hard. He's challenged himself and coaches have done a good job of making him a better player. He's going to have some mistakes and he's going to have to play through some of them.
"I can't let him play through every single one of them, but he plays through the majority of them. He had a couple of defensive mistakes. But you have to learn from it and he has."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 8, 2019