3-5
93 -
Team 1 2 3 4
MIN 20 28 27 18
WAS 17 17 26 12
72

Timberwolves-Wizards Preview

AP - Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves have fared well against some of the better teams in the league, but that hasn't been the case when facing clubs that won't be contending for the championship.

That could be good news for the winless Washington Wizards.

The Timberwolves will try to avoid a third consecutive loss Sunday when the lowly Wizards go for their eighth straight home win in this series.

Since snapping a nine-game home losing streak to Dallas and defeating San Antonio for the first time in 17 tries, Minnesota (2-5) has lost to Memphis - which was without injured forward Zach Randolph - and Cleveland.

The Timberwolves, who challenged Miami and Oklahoma City last month before losing by a combined six points, also fell 98-95 to struggling Milwaukee on Dec. 27.

"We can't just come to play against the NBA championship contenders," rookie forward Derrick Williams said Friday after scoring 12 points in a 98-87 home loss to the Cavs. "We've got to come to play against everybody we play."

Michael Beasley sprained his right foot late in Friday's contest and is expected to miss this stretch of three games in three days, meaning Williams will likely see plenty of action.

Wizards big men Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee will have enough to worry about with Kevin Love. The fourth-year forward is averaging 26.1 points and 14.9 rebounds with a league-high seven double-doubles.

Love averaged 27.5 points and 16.0 boards as these teams split two meetings in 2010-11 for the second straight season. He had 20 points and 21 rebounds in a 103-96 loss at the Verizon Center on March 5.

Minnesota, which has played a league-low one road game, has not won in the nation's capital since Dec. 12, 2003.

Washington (0-7), though, is the only NBA team still searching for its first win - in fact, every other club has at least two victories. The Wizards' worst-ever start continued Friday with a 99-96 home loss to the New York Knicks.

There was some improvement, however, as Washington enjoyed an uncharacteristically quick start, leading 32-18 after 12 minutes. It was the highest-scoring quarter of the season for the Wizards, who had been outscored by nine or more in the first period of four of their previous five games.

"We played hard. We played with good energy," said coach Flip Saunders, the former Timberwolves coach.

Forwards Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker have been particularly strong off the Wizards' bench over the last two games, combining for 35 points and 24 rebounds.

Washington guards Nick Young (24 points) and John Wall (22) both had their best offensive performances of the season Friday, shooting a combined 19 for 42.

Wall paced the Wizards with 32 points, 18 assists and 15 boards versus Minnesota in 2010-11 as Young missed the home win with the flu.

Luke Ridnour has started each game at point guard for the Timberwolves, but Ricky Rubio is among the league leaders with 27.7 minutes per game off the bench. The Spanish rookie is scoring 9.4 points per game with a team-high 6.7 assists.

Minnesota's other point guard, J.J. Barea, is questionable after missing the last three games with a strained right hamstring.

Washington's last eight-game skid was Jan. 24-Feb. 5.

View Comments