MINNEAPOLIS (AP)Bradley Beal had 13 of his 35 points over the final 4 1/2 minutes to help the Washington Wizards polish off their rally from a 20-point first-quarter deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-106 on Thursday night.
Kyle Kuzma – who had 16 points on just 6-for-21 shooting – swished a top-of-the-key fadeaway from deep for a 107-106 lead that was Washington’s first of the game with 1:14 to go.
Beal, who topped the 30-point mark for the third time in four games, followed with a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left – after a miss by Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards – to make it 110-106.
Edwards had 18 of his 34 points in the first quarter to help the Timberwolves surge to a 30-10 lead. They were still ahead 99-92 with 4:38 left after three free throws by Kyle Anderson, before Beal hit a wide-open 3-pointer to spark his late surge.
Corey Kispert scored 15 points off the bench to offset off nights by Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis and help the Wizards (28-30) build on their recent momentum entering the All-Star break. They have won 10 of their last 14.
Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves (31-30), who were derailed by their characteristic mid-game lulls and missed an opportunity to move a season-best three games above the .500 mark.
With the Wizards wearing their hot pink ”City Edition” uniforms in an ode to the city’s iconic cherry blossoms, the Wolves were the hotter team for most of the game while new point guard Mike Conley continued to help Gobert find his offensive groove with the pick-and-rolls and lob passes they perfected together in Utah.
But Edwards began to make some rash decisions after his strong start, and the Wolves were outrebounded and outhustled down the stretch.
The Wizards have won seven straight games against the Wolves, extending the longest streak in the series. Minnesota’s last win over Washington was on Nov. 2, 2019.
ANT GOES MARCHING
Edwards, who was added to the All-Star roster last week as an injury replacement, was headed to Utah for the annual in-season showcase this weekend while his teammates scattered on vacations.
”I think moments like that are perfectly suited for him,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. ”He enjoys that type of environment. It’ll be fun for him in and around all of those other players. He’ll get treated like the star that he is becoming.”
Wizards: Beal, who became the second player in franchise history to hit the 15,000-point mark for his career in a loss on Monday at Golden State, went 14 for 28 from the floor. … Kispert went 4 for 6 from 3-point range. He was 5 for 22 over his last five games.
Timberwolves: Edwards had only one higher-scoring first quarter in his three-year career, with 19 points at Orlando on Nov. 16. … Towns missed his 40th straight game with the right calf strain he suffered when Minnesota played at Washington on Nov. 28. ”We’ll evaluate him coming out of the break,” Finch said, ”so it’s closer than he was yesterday.”
Wizards: Host New York on Feb. 24.
Timberwolves: Host Charlotte on Feb. 24.
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