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Wizards vs. T'Wolves: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. T'Wolves: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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...

Home streak

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.

[RELATED: Beal on Wall's All-Star votes: 'No way he should be that low']

Bench play

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).

Big three

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.

[RELATED: Jenks and Rob Carlin explain 'Wizards in 30' with their hands]

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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