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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Minnesota Timberwolves to end road trip

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Minnesota Timberwolves to end road trip

The table was set perfectly for the Wizards to chance at 5-0 on a road trip for the first time in franchise history. They trailed by 21 for the second game in a row.

The Wizards (41-25), after erasing an 11-point deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns, a 15-point deficit to the Sacramento Kings and 21 to the Portland Trail Blazers, lost 119-104 to end a five-game winning streak at Target Center on Monday night.

John Wall (27 points, five assists) led Washington but it still had trouble getting stops as the Timberwolves shot 45-for-86, or 52.3%, including 10-for-21 from three-point range (47.6%).

Karl-Anthony Towns (39 points, 13 rebounds) led all scorers as Minnesota (28-38) never trailed. Five other players had double figures, with Ricky Rubio (22 points, career-high 19 assists) setting the table. Nemanja Bjelica (16 points, 10 rebounds) sparked the second unit.

A lob to Markieff Morris (11 points, seven rebounds) cut the deficit to 102-96 in the fourth quarter but Towns was too much down the stretch. He made a three-pointer and then two free throws to push the lead back to double digits and seal it.

Andrew Wiggins (15 points) had 41 points in their first meeting but was held relatively in check as he shot 5-for-15. 

Bradley Beal (20 points, seven rebounds), Otto Porter (11 points, six rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (12 points) rounded out Washington’s effort. Marcin Gortat (seven points, four rebounds) was limited to 23 minutes of action.

[RELATED: Wall hits circus shot from the ground vs. Wolves]

--Wall got the whistles. He went out of his way to create contact and he was able to get to the foul line and shoot 14-for-19. In the previous game, he was 10 of 12. 

--The Wizards couldn’t turn any of the Timberwolves’ early turnovers into points. They only had three off their first 11. During one, Beal had a breakaway dunk but missed it in the third quarter. In the end,they had just nine points off 15 giveaways from Minnesota. 

--Porter passed on at least two potentially good looks from three on catch-and-shoots. He opted to put the ball on the floor to attack the defender but wasn’t as successful. The NBA's leading three-point shooter only went 5-for-12 overall and only took three threes. The Timberwolves have had the league's best defense since the All-Star break in points per game allowed and field-goal percentage.

--Beal’s minutes were restricted to 33 in Portland despite that being an overtime game. He logged 38 tonight but only shot 3-for-11 from three-point range.

--Ian Mahinmi (five points, seven rebounds) defended Towns when the Wizards made their runs, but he’s not used to defending a big who shoots threes. He hesitated on a closeout late in the fourth that produced a three for Towns and a 105-97 lead. Mahinmi fouled out with 3:24 left after 21 minutes of play. Towns' next three, with Mahinmi off the floor, stretched the lead to 110-98.

--Bogdanovic and Beal were 4-for-17 shooting threes, and as a team they were 7-for-26. Overall, Bogdanovic and Beal shot 10-for-31 which is why the offense couldn't overcome the deficit. Still, the Wizards broke 100 points for the 32nd time in 33 games.

[RELATED: Film study: Anatomy of Wizards' about-face]

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Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Just a few weeks ago, the Masai Ujiri-to-D.C. movement was gaining steam quickly. Just moments after Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors began celebrating their NBA Championship, reports began to swirl that the Wizards were prepared to aggressively pursue the GM.

Sources told NBC Sports Washington that there could be the possibility of a sort of mega-deal that went beyond just giving him control of the Wizards. But Wizards owner Ted  Leonsis denied earlier this month that the team had reached out, saying that "we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process."

And on Tuesday, Uriji seemed to make it official that he will stay in Toronto.

"I love it here, my family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadians. You want to win more, for me," Ujiri said on Tuesday during his end-of-season press conference.

"Yeah, I can continue to address teams wanting me and all those things. That's a blessing in life," Ujiri said. "For me the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy, and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person."

"I identify with this place and I love it. So in my mind, I'm here."

On paper, Ujiri and the Wizards looked to be a good match. Washington could offer him money and control, while also allowing him to work with his "Basketball without Borders" program in D.C.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained recently, the Raptors late-season championship run could have messed up the timing and situation that could have lured Ujiri to a new team.

The Wizards made it through the NBA Draft without a new GM, but as July and free agency approach, the search may continue to ramp up.

The answer is still out there, it just may not be Masai Ujiri anymore.


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Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

The Wizards added two pieces during the 2019 NBA Draft that franchise expects to be vital pieces of their future in Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura at No. 9 and Tennessee's Admiral Schofield at No. 42

Before Monday night's 2018-19 NBA Awards ceremony, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller caught up with the two faces of the franchise, Bradley Beal and John Wall, to see what they thought of the new additions to the squad.

Beal had high praise for Hachimura.

"I didn't know much," Beal said on what he knew about the Gonzaga product prior to the draft. "But from what I've seen watching the draft and things I've seen pre-draft and things like that, he's a monster."

The praise did not stop there. 

"He plays hard, extremely hard," Beal said. "Hopefully, he can have an impact right away." 

While an immediate impact would be beneficial for a Wizards team that could use Hachimura's scoring (he averaged 19.7 points per game at Gonzaga), Beal understands that Hachimura is still a very raw player. After all, he's only been playing basketball for eight years.

"But at the same time, we want him to grow," Beal said on Hachimura. "We know he hasn't been playing too long. But that's something we can build off of and mold him into the player we need him to be. He has tremendous upside, and I'm excited to get going. Hopefully, come September, October he's ready to go."

While Beal may not have known too much about Hachimura, he had followed the other Wizards draft pick, Admiral Schofield, for quite some time. 

"I love his game; I loved him in college," Beal said on Schofield. 

Beal joked about Schofield's body type, wondering whether basketball is the sport the Wizards second-round pick should be playing.

"He's got a football body. He's built like a tight end, wide receiver," Beal said. "I'm definitely happy that we have him, a fellow SEC guy. Him and [Jordan] McRae are going to hit it off. He can shoot, he's athletic, so I'm definitely excited to have him as well."

While Wall did not go into as much detail as Beal about the Wizards draft class, he was just as excited about the two new additions.

"I think it's good," Wall said. "We added some pieces [in the draft], [we'll] see what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

According to head coach Scott Brooks, both Beal and Wall can identify talent very well

"The thing I love about John and Brad: they love the game," Brooks said last week. "You can call them up, there could be high school players, WNBA players, it could be college players, it could be European players, they know them."

"It's like, 'don't you guys have a life?'" Brooks joked.

Wall spent most of his time with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller discussing his Achilles rehab, where he revealed he is going to begin jogging soon. That's a good sign for the Wizards, even though Wall s expected to miss the majority of the 2019-2020 season.

In Hachimura and Schofield, the Wizards got two pieces that are not expected to contribute right away, but also potentially have the ability to do so. Earning high praise from the two most important players on the Wizards' roster is a good start for both of the Wizards 2019 NBA Draft selections.