Minnesota (15-48) at Washington (15-45)

By ALAN FERGUSON, STATS Writer Saturday, Mar 5, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Sat Mar 5, 2011

Returning to the Verizon Center hasn’t cured the Washington Wizards’ woes, but they might have a chance to salvage the end of a four-game homestand.

The Wizards will try to do that by recording their seventh consecutive home victory Saturday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Washington (15-45) was probably looking forward to a lengthy stay at home after playing four of five on the road near the end of last month. The Wizards, though, have extended their losing streak to seven.

Washington’s rally from a 20-point deficit fell short in Wednesday’s 106-102 loss to Golden State, their season-high fifth in a row at home and 16th in 18 overall. Nick Young(notes) scored 31 points but missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left.

“To fight back and have a shot to tie it at the end is a credit to them, but we can’t afford to dig ourselves a hole,” said Randy Wittman, who served as acting Wizards coach while Flip Saunders missed the game to attend to his ailing mother.

Saunders is expected to return to coach against his former team, which failed to win for the third time in four games Friday. Minnesota (15-48) trailed Philadelphia by a point with 2:47 left but allowed the 76ers to score 10 unanswered points in a 111-100 defeat.

“The best thing about the NBA is there’s another game tomorrow,” the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love(notes) told the league’s website. “There’s another chance for us to help turn it around.”

Love shook off a third-quarter collision with Elton Brand(notes) to finish with 21 points and 23 rebounds, his 10th 20-20 game this season. It was also the All-Star forward’s 49th consecutive double-double, leaving him two shy of matching Moses Malone’s streak from 1978-79.

“It’s amazing and it’s becoming mundane,” coach Kurt Rambis said of Love, who has a league-best 58 double-doubles this season. “He just keeps doing it over and over.”

Love had 35 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 109-97 win over Washington on Jan. 13. Rashard Lewis(notes) led five Wizards players in double figures with 19 points and is expected to play Saturday despite suffering from sore right knee.

Lewis has averaged 4.0 points on 30.8 percent shooting since returning from a three-game absence.

“Sometimes the soreness in his knee puts him in situations where his leg can’t fire as much as he wants it to,” Saunders said. “He’s such a professional. He wants to play at a high level and help the team. … He’s important to us, as much as anything just for his leadership.”

Minnesota, the Western Conference’s worst road team at 5-26, is trying to complete consecutive winning three-game trips. The Timberwolves were 2-1 against New Orleans, Houston and Indiana from Feb. 7-11.

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Saturday, Mar 5