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Wizards 137, Wolves 116: Wolves Opt Out on Defense

An abysmal showing at the defensive end dooms the Wolves

Washington Wizards v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

A truly putrid performance on the defensive end of the floor allowed the Wizards to get anything they wanted throughout a game in which the Wolves fell behind and could never string together stops to get back into it. Ultimately it was a 137-116 rout in favor of the Wizards tonight at Target Center.

It was clear from the beginning that the Wolves were not up for defending tonight, and that the Wizards were prepared to take advantage. It showed in all ways: In transition where the Wolves were repeatedly beaten down the floor, in pick and rolls that routinely resulted in open layups, in simple drives that the Wolves couldn’t stop. Overall the Wizards shot 54 percent, including 61 percent from two point range. They were getting free for shots in the paint on a huge number of possessions.

The leaders for the Wizards were Bradley Beal (44 points) and Mo Wagner (30). Those two combined to shoot an astounding 28-37 from the field, and constantly frustrated the Wolves in the second half as the Wizards pulled away.

I don’t really know what else to say about the defense tonight. It was a comprehensive systemic and individual breakdown. Beal was able to shake free from whoever the Wolves tried on him. Wagner found himself open both inside and out. The Wizards were sharp, and the Wolves were absolutely hapless.

They had enough offense to win on another night, though they were very sloppy with the ball and committed 20 turnovers. Still, they shot it reasonably well and were able to score, especially in the first half when they had 73. Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster night offensively, with 36 on very efficient 13-18 shooting, though he was as big a culprit on defense as anyone. But he kept them in the game until other guys started missing shots while the Wizards were hardly missing at all.

Although the offense was clearly not the big problem tonight, it’s worth pointing out that the Wolves were once again under 30 percent from three on 37 attempts. I’m all for chucking them up there, but their lack of good shooters means plenty of nights like this.

It’s also worth asking whether he absence of Andrew Wiggins (due to he death of his grandmother) made a difference in this one. It’s tough to say: He’s been a juggernaut offensively, but offense as not the problem tonight. It certainly wouldn’t have hurt, but I have a hard time seeing him as the difference between winning and losing tonight.

I’m tired and I’m going to bed. This terrible game deserves no more of my time. At least the Wolves are back at it tomorrow night against the Rockets.