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Wizards Drop Timberwolves for 9th Straight Home Win

The Washington Wizards were in need of some home cooking after an 0-2 Texas road trip this week. They got it Friday night, returning to Verizon Center to knock off the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves, 112-105.

The Wizards, led by John Wall’s 18 points and season-high 18 assists, recorded their ninth straight home win, their longest such streak in nearly four years.

“I don’t think we’ve ever won nine [home games] in a row” during his Wizards tenure, Wall said. “There is a lot of excitement and it’s great to know that when they call our names the crowd is there cheering for us.”

Late in the fourth quarter while Wall stood at the free-throw line, the crowd chanted “MVP!” several times.

“I heard them. I was just trying not to miss. That’s embarrassing when you hear it and then you miss,” he said with a smile.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins pulls up for a jump shot over Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris in the third quarter of the Wizards' 112-105 win at Verizon Center in northwest D.C. on Jan. 6. Wiggins scored a game-high 41 points. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins pulls up for a jump shot over Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris in the third quarter of the Wizards’ 112-105 win at Verizon Center in northwest D.C. on Jan. 6. Wiggins scored a game-high 41 points. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring with 22 points, 5-7 from the 3-point line. The team shot 58 percent from the floor, including 12 of 22 beyond the arc.

Washington (17-18) pushed the lead to 14 in the third quarter and seemed ready to pull away, but Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins heated up with 16 points in the quarter, leading a 20-6 run to cut the deficit to 74-72.

The Timberwolves (11-25) actually were up 85-80 going into the fourth, but the Wizards defense picked up at the beginning of the quarter, and a quick 9-0 spurt gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Wiggins, who averages nearly 22 points per game, finished with a game-high 41, which was of little consolation to the third-year forward.

“What we did offensively doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day,” Wiggins said. “Defense is what wins games.”

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks would agree.

“We got out to the 14-point lead because we were defending … and we were getting out in transition, which is when we’re at our best,” Brooks said. “Then we relaxed. Then Wiggins got extremely hot and it was hard to turn him off.”

Brooks praised Beal’s defense on Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine, who missed his first eight shots and finished with eight points, 13 off his season average.

“I just changed the way I guarded him,” Beal said. “Went over screens. Went under screens. Contested everything. I gave him a few pushes here and there [and] was a little physical with him to get him off his spots.”

The Wizards hit the road again Sunday to face the Milwaukee Bucks (18-17), which blew out Washington at home by 27 points on Dec. 23.

“We got to find a way to win on the road,” Wall said. “When we can do that, we will be a team over .500.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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