WASHINGTON – As the calendar turned to December, the smooth start to the Timberwolves season came to an end. Wolves won’t face any team below 0.500 at the start of the month and will have a list of opponents with the league’s highest winning percentage, according to NBA.com.
Wolves have been turning heads in the league with their game lately, and it will take the same effort for them if they are to keep their heads above water when 2021 turns into 2022.
This odyssey began with a 115-107 loss Wednesday night on the road to the Rising Wizards.
Karl-Anthony Towns was 34 while Anthony Edwards was 25 when he was one of four Wolves players who were on the injury report with flu-like symptoms or illness.
Maybe this disease made some of the wolves lazy. Regardless, the Wolves’ defense fell short of their standards this season, allowing Washington 68 points in the paint.
Wolves were also worried about Towns’ health, as he left the game with 2 minutes and 14 seconds to go after falling hard on his back from a dunk. Towns fell off the ground but was sprawled on the bench in pain.
The Wolves’ upcoming movie screening will feature plenty of dunk footage of Montrezl Harrell, who was 27 while Bradley Beal had 19 for the Wizards.
The night started off slow for both teams, especially the Wolves starters as Towns and Russell managed a combined 1 for 11 in the first quarter. The Wizards were able to come out in transition against the Wolves, especially early on. Washington only scored one basket outside the restricted area in the first quarter.
The Wizards were also able to frustrate Edge Cities early on with Kyle Kuzma and Daniel Gifford picking up each of the blocks. Neither team played inspired in the first quarter with a total of 12 turnovers. The two sleepwalkers made their way to a 24-24 draw after one.
The second quarter saw Towns go offensively attacking the rim, this time avoiding the blocks that tormented him early on. After his slow start, Towns went 6-for-9 in the second quarter for 16 points. Both teams also cleaned up their act in the second quarter with just four combined turnovers.
Defensively, Wolves had little response for Harrell, who settled around the basket and took advantage of a few Wolves defensive breakdowns. Harrell was 5 of 6 for 12 points in the first half. The Wizards scored 19 field goals in the first half. Wolves had eight, but they were leading 57-53 in the locker room thanks to Towns’ skill.
Going to Towns worked again for Wolves in the third, as Towns was 32 at the end. It marked Towns’ 83rd game with 30 or more points and he passed Kevin Garnett for the most in Wolves history with Wednesday’s performance.
But the Wolves defense struggled and the Wizards hung on 38. Harrell scored another nine points in the third while Beal had nine.
These problems were not corrected in the fourth. Wolves let Harrell do whatever he wanted, and by the time Harrell passed Edwards for a dunk with 2 minutes, 36 left, the Wizards were new and a Wolves side that had a lot of response recently had nothing on offer Wednesday and wondered if Towns was okay.
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