The Washington Wizards host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
It's a contrast that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The Wizards are just 3-12 on the road, with only the Brooklyn Nets behind them in road wins among NBA teams. Yet, at home they are 13-6, with the third-most home wins of any team in the Eastern Conference. They have to figure out what's going on when they play away from the Verizon Center, but when it comes to playing at home they appear to have it down.
The Wizards on Friday night will host the Timberwolves as they aim for their ninth straight home victory. Their eight-game winning streak at home is tied for the second-longest in the NBA with the Spurs. Only the Warriors, who have won nine straight at home, have a longer streak.
The Wizards' bench has been much maligned this season, but on Friday night they will meet their match. The Timberwolves have been even worse in many key categories. The Wizards are 29th and the T'Wolves are 30th in the NBA, respectively, in average minutes from their bench and points. The Wizards are worse in plus-minus (28th), free throw attempts (30th), rebounding (30th) and three point percentage (27th), while Minnesota is worse in overall field goal percentage (27th).
Basically, we're talking about two teams that do not get much from their second units. That could provide an opportunity for guys like Marcus Thornton, Trey Burke and Kelly Oubre, Jr. to shine against a very young T'Wolves bench including 24-year-old Shabazz Muhammad (17.7 mpg, 7.7 ppg) and 22-year-old rookie Kris Dunn (17.1 mpg, 6.1 ppg).
The Timberwolves have become an intriguing team to many basketball fans because of their impressive collection of lottery picks in recent years. They have drafted many blue chip guys and three in particular seem to be really panning out. Those would be Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. All three are just 21 years old and each is scoring at least 21 points per game.
The Timberwolves, in fact, are one of just three teams in the NBA (Warriors and Cavs) to have three 20-point scorers. Wiggins leads the way slightly at 21.7 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting to go along with 4.3 rebounds. Towns is right behind him at 21.6 points on 47.6 percent shooting. He's also grabbing 11.6 rebounds and blocking 1.4 shots per night. LaVine is at 21.1 points, also on 47.6 percent shooting from the field. He's the best of the three from three-point range at 41.7 percent on 7.3 attempts per game.
Those three are among the most talented young players in the league, but it has yet to translate into wins. Minnesota is a half-game out of last in the West at just 11-24 on the year.