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Wizards 114, Timberwolves 101

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- John Wall had 14 points in his first start of the season and the Washington Wizards moved out the NBA's basement with a 114-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Jordan Crawford paced six double-figure scorers with 19 points in 22 minutes, and Bradley Beal scored 16 for the Wizards (10-31), who have won six of nine games and four straight at home.

The victory moved Washington past idle Charlotte (10-31) in the league-wide and Southeast division standings.

In their first contest following a five-game Western road swing, the Wizards never trailed and shot a season-high 57.8 percent from the field in their third straight double-digit home win. Nene also scored 14 points, Martell Webster 13 and Kevin Seraphin had 10 for Washington, which led by 23 points in the second half.

Derrick Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko scored 17 points for the skidding Timberwolves (17-23), who have lost eight of nine games. Minnesota shot 3 of 14 (21.4 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Wall, who came off the bench for his first seven games of the season, dished out five assists and made 6 of 10 shots in 21 minutes. Despite the start, Wall played his fewest minutes in any game this season. Credit that to not playing during the fourth quarter of a blowout rather than the still imposed minutes count.

The No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft returned to the court on Jan. 12 after missing the opening 33 games with a left knee injury.

Coincidentally Wall's direct opponent, Minnesota's Ricky Rubio, also entered the game with monitored minutes, though he finished playing a season-high 31. Maybe he should have played less. The Timberwolves point guard, who is recovering from left knee surgery, had four points on 1-of-8 shooting with six assists.

Wall wasted no time putting his stamp on the game with assists on Washington's first two baskets, setting the tone for the collective pass-happy effort. The Wizards never trailed, started 9 of 11 from the field and shot 59.5 percent in the first half and held a 16-point lead before the crowd of 14,095.

The electric point guard capped the scoring with full-court, full-speed drive through Minnesota's entire defense, finishing with a difficult layup. Washington matched its season-high scoring total for a first half and entered the locker room up 60-46.

Notes: Wall started after coming off the bench for his first seven games of the season. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft missed the first 33 games with a left knee injury. Wall's previous start came against Miami on April 26, the final game of the 2011-12 season. ... Minnesota remains without head coach Rick Adelman. The longtime coach left the team on Jan. 5, to be with his wife, Mary Kay, who has been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. "His spirits are pretty good considering what's going on," interim coach Terry Porter said. "He's up to speed on what's going on and he has conversations about the state of our team and any adjustment that has to be made and make sure we make them." ... Center Nikola Pekovic (right thigh contusion) and guard Alexey Shved (left ankle sprain) each missed their fourth straight game for the Timberwolves. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman coached the Timberwolves as an assistant from 1994-99 and was promoted to head coach in 2007.
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