Minnesota Timberwolves rally past Washington Wizards in 2 OTs

By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange  |  March 26, 2016 at 12:27 AM
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards were the team battling for a playoff spot. The Minnesota Timberwolves ended up making the winning plays.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Gorgui Dieng sank the game-winning jumper with 30 seconds left in the second overtime as the Minnesota Timberwolves hampered the Washington Wizards' postseason hopes with a 132-129 victory Friday.

Zach LaVine had 25 points for the Timberwolves (24-48), who trailed late in regulation and both overtime periods. Down 129-124 with 1:55 remaining, Minnesota scored the final eight points.

Bradley Beal scored 26 points for the Wizards (35-37). The loss dropped Washington 3 1/2 games behind the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. John Wall had 22 points and 16 assists.

Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Washington, but missed two free throws with 15.1 seconds left and Washington trailing 130-129 after Dieng's jumper. Towns followed with a layup and Jared Dudley's attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer came up short.

"It was a horrible loss. Plain and simple," said Beal, who missed potential game-winning 3-point attempts at the end of regulation and the first overtime. "No explanation about it. We shouldn't have lost that game."

Wall scored seven straight Wizards points to give Washington a 108-101 lead with 2:21 left in regulation, but the Timberwolves tied the game at 109 with 19.7 seconds left. Dieng's fourth 3-pointer of the season evened the score after Nene split two free throws for the Wizards.

"We were laughing with (Gorgui) because he couldn't make (a 3-pointer) in warm-ups," Towns said. "We were messing with him. He kept trying to shoot in front of us telling us he was going to make it. We laughed, but when we needed (Gorgui) to hit a 3, it didn't matter what he did in warm-ups."

Wall missed a layup in the final seconds of regulation before Beal's errant 3-point try before the buzzer. Washington sank 13 of 29 from beyond the arc.

The Wizards finished 16 of 23 on free throws while the Timberwolves were perfect on 22 attempts.

"It just shows the integrity of our team to go out there, continuously fight no matter what happens during the game," Towns said of the numerous rallies.

Washington led 119-115 in the first overtime, but LaVine sank two 3-ponters, tying the game at 121 with 11.8 seconds remaining.

"Missed opportunities at the end of regulation, first overtime," Wizards guard Garrett Temple said. "In the second we had opportunities to put the team away. They hit some tough 3's, but we shouldn't have been in that position."

The Pistons defeated the Charlotte Hornets 112-105 Friday night. Washington also must pass the ninth place Bulls in the standings.

"I ain't worried about anybody but our team," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We've got to help ourselves. It has nothing to do with Detroit. It has nothing to do with Chicago. It has everything to do with us. Maybe that's what our problem is. We're hoping for help. We've got to help ourselves first. We've got to help ourselves."

The Wizards are 0-2 in overtimes this season while Minnesota improved to 3-3.

Washington forward Markieff Morris left in the first half with cramps in his left calf and did not return.

The Wizards open a five-game Western Conference road trip Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We need to play desperate," Beal said. "We have no other choice."

NOTES: Timberwolves G Zach LaVine hit 23 of 43 from 3-point range in the last six games after going 5 for 9 on Friday. ... G Bradley Beal scored 26 points off the bench in Washington's 104-98 victory at Minnesota on March 2. Beal on Friday made his fourth start in as many games, marking his longest streak since starting 11 in a row from Nov. 21 to Dec. 9. He missed several games this season with leg stress and pelvic injuries. ... With his fourth rebound, Towns set the Timberwolves single-season rebounding record for rookies, passing Kevin Love (734 in 2008-09), and has 741. ... The Timberwolves play Utah on Saturday in the first of three straight home games. ... Only three of the Wizards' final 10 regular-season games are at home.

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