Wall’s double-double outshines Love in Wizards winSaturday, Mar 5, 2011
The rookie forward came back to make some of the biggest plays in the game.
After taking some medicine at halftime, Booker played nearly the entire fourth quarter and had three highlight dunks on successive possessions to give Washington the lead take the Wizards to a 103-96 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
“It was real tough,” Booker said. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. Most of the minutes in the fourth quarter, I was hurting but I fought through it.”
Booker finished with seven points, six of them coming in a crucial 1 1/2 minute span midway through the final quarter.
Love had put Minnesota up 85-84 before Booker’s outburst, with the final two dunks coming on offensive rebounds. On the first of the two putbacks Booker jumped from behind Love and grabbed the ball just before it reached Love’s waiting hands before Booker slammed it home.
“I just saw the ball up there, so I just tried to go up and get it,” Booker said. “And then I saw I was pretty high. I decided to dunk it.”
Booker’s series put the Wizards ahead 90-85, and a few minutes later Washington extended the lead to 97-90 on Maurice Evans’(notes) 3-pointer, capping a 13-5 run. The Timberwolves made a brief comeback push, but were unable to retake the lead after Booker energized the Wizards.
“You see the mascots jumping off the trampoline, that’s what it felt like he was doing in there. He’s an athletic freak,” Love said. “I got off at that 10th floor, he got off at the 12th. That was the deal.”
John Wall(notes) scored 18 points and had a career-high 11 rebounds, and Andray Blatche(notes) scored 20 points and had seven rebounds for Washington, which snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Wizards have won their last seven games at home against the Timberwolves.
“Coach said whoever is guarding (Love), try and box him out and let everybody else try and rebound,” Wall said. “Tonight I keyed in on rebounding and helping out the bigs.”
It was Love’s 50th double-double in a row, one game shy of tying the mark set by Moses Malone in 1978-79. Love leads the NBA with 59 this season. His numbers have been so outstanding this season his teammates are used to the gaudy stat lines.
Eleven of Love’s rebounds came in the third quarter, when Minnesota used a 14-1 run to take a nine-point lead, the largest margin of the game. The Wizards struggled to find offense in the quarter, going more than five minutes without a field goal. In the fourth quarter, Washington got help from Evans, who scored 11 of his 15 points and all three of his 3-pointers in the quarter, along with Booker’s game-changing plays.
After the game in the Wizards locker room, someone had written on a white board in the space for the keys of the game: “Booker + Imodium AD = Win.”
“We didn’t know if we were even going to be able to play him,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said of Booker. “It got to the point that we just needed some energy, maybe we could put him in and get a couple of minutes. He started going and I was afraid of taking him out because I didn’t know if we’d be able to get him back.”
Notes: Saunders was on the bench a day after the death of his mother, Kay, although he is expected to miss the team’s game in Detroit on Sunday. “It’s a way to maybe escape a little bit,” he said of his coaching duties. “This is something she’d want me to do, come back and coach, and I’ll leave (Sunday).” … Washington was without G Nick Young(notes) (flu) and F Josh Howard(notes) (pulled left hamstring). Rookie Jordan Crawford(notes) got his first NBA start in Young’s place. … Minnesota G Wes Johnson(notes) (flulike symptoms) missed his second straight game, C Darko Milicic(notes) (personal reasons) missed his third straight game and F Martell Webster(notes) (sore back) was out for the seventh game in a row.
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