In only his fourth game for the Wizards this season and playing in his hometown, Alan Anderson couldn't pick a better time to shine to get them back to .500 with a 104-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Its Washington's first victory at Target Center since 2009, their seventh in nine games since the All-Star break and their first win in 20 games after trailing by 10 or more points.
Bradley Beal (game-high 26 points) cooked early, but it was Anderson (18 points) who had five consecutive points to put the Wizards (30-30) ahead 90-79 and then another three-pointer for a 97-83 lead. Anderson shot 6 of 9, including 4 of 7 on three-pointers.
John Wall (14 points, 12 assists, two steals) only shot 6 of 18 but when he put pace into the game the Wizards were able to separate themselves from Minnesota (19-42). Marcin Gortat (12 points) was the only other starter in double figures.
The Timberwolves were led by Ricky Rubio (22 points), Zach LaVine (21points), Andrew Wiggins (17 points) and Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points, 15 rebounds).
The last time the Wizards were here, in late February 2015, they blew a 15-point lead and lost 97-77 to the worst team in the West and followed that with a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers who were the East's worst team.
They've now endured scares from both in consecutive games, coming back in the fourth quarter to beat the Sixers 116-108 on Monday. It didn't take them that long to respond when they fell behind to Minnesota but they've now won after trailing by 10 or more points for the first time in 20 games.
The last time the Wizards were .500 was Jan. 15 when they beat the Indiana Pacers to get to 19-19.
- Turning it over on 4 of 5 possession to start the game, the Wizards fell behind 21-9. They turned it over seven times in the first 12 minutes but reversed the tables by forcing the T'wolves into eight giveaways in the second quarter that resulted in 11 points.
- The plan was to collapse on Towns and make them shoot from deep, something that the T'wolves aren't particularly good at (28th in three-point shooting). They made some shots early but the law of averages caught up to them (5 of 14). Towns only had 12 shot attempts, was trapped in the paint with the ball on several occasions that led to turnovers.
- Beal still is coming off the bench and there's no reason to change it considering how well the Wizards are playing. He found his shooting stroke by making 10 of 15 shots. Beal isn't just launching three-pointers for the sake of taking shots. He's using ball and shoulder fakes to get the defense to bite, open a lane for him to dribble and pull up for uncontested shots. Temple, who has been starting in his place because Beal still is on a minutes limit, had his best game in a while. He had two offensive rebounds during one possession, the second one he wrestled from Towns for a layup and then stripped Wiggins on a drive to the basket that led to Wall getting a layup on the other end. When Anderson had his five-point outburst in the fourth to put the Wizards up 11, it was an extra pass from Temple for a three and then a tough rebound in traffic and throwahead so Anderson could get the layup.
- Morris (seven points, rebounds, 24 minutes) made his second consecutive start at power forward but again his time on the floor was negatively impacted by foul trouble. He picked up his second foul with 7:37 left in the first quarter on a cheap one, a reach-in on Towns 18 feet away from the basket.
- The Wizards had tied the score at 29 to end the first quarter until a foul was issued to Jared Dudley that didn't happen. Minnesota led by three after LaVine hit each foul shot but replays clearly showed as he launched a shot to beat the buzzer, Dudley didn't come close to touching him. Official Jason Phillips, who was out of position and didn't have a clear view of the contact, blew the whistle from the opposite side. Lauren Holtkamp, who was in better position and on the side where the alleged contact occurred, did not blow her whistle. Why can't NBA refs do like NFL refs when there are competing views of a play, huddle and decide to pick up the flag? It only helps the integrity of the officiating. Gortat picked up a technical foul in the third when he missed at the rim when Rubio whacked him across the forearm. Calls are going to be missed in the heat of the game, and the Wizards eventually caught a break in the fourth. The Timberwolves were about to make it a one-possession game in the waning seconds but Towns was called for a charge on a drive to the basket. Nene slid over but was a bit late. It should've been a blocking foul with a foul shot.