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Big Nights From Harrell and Gafford Push Wizards Past Timberwolves

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The Wizards continued their surprising success this season with a 115-107 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night that moved them to 14-8. The score was close throughout, but Washington managed to pull away at the end of the game thanks to some big shots from Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Additionally, Wiz fans had another bright spot on the night as forward Rui Hachimura returned to the bench for the first time this season, and looks to be progressing towards a season debut in the near future.

It was a solid night from the field for the Wizards as they shot 49.1% from the field and dominated Minnesota in the paint, outscoring them 68-44 in the restricted area and outrebounding them 52-39. Washington also just played much better team basketball, tallying 34 assists to Minnesota’s 15. This difference in style was particularly evident in the closing minutes of the game when the Timberwolves attempted to rely on their stars getting buckets in isolation, whereas Washington moved the ball and got quality shots. 

Montrezl Harrell had one of his trademark efficient and energetic performances, scoring 27 points on 11-12 shooting from the field. His aggressiveness is a lot for any team to handle during a regular-season game, and he somehow manages to bring the same intensity every night. His powerful dunks and hustle bring contagious energy that seems to galvanize other players on the team to match his effort, giving him an invaluable impact. 

Daniel Gafford continued to play well, notching a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds along with three blocks. He is currently sixth in the NBA with an average of 2.1 blocks per game. Davis Bertans returned from injury and lived up to his moniker “The Latvian Laser,” scoring 15 points in 16 minutes on 5-6 shooting from the field and 3-4 on 3-pointers. 

Bradley Beal had a rough night from the field going 8-20 and scoring 19 points, a fairly pedestrian performance by his high standards. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of his night, however, was his 1-5 mark on 3-pointers. Beal has struggled shooting the three-ball to start the year. He is currently shooting 26.9 percent on 6.3 attempts per game. Considering 3-point shooting was one of the hallmarks of his game when he was drafted, the struggles from behind the arc this season are a bit puzzling. On the bright side though, a performance like this from Beal last year certainly would have meant a loss for the Wizards, but this new and improved roster has proven they can step up when he has an off night. 

For the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 34 points on 11-25 shooting after starting the game 1-6. He had a field day in the post in the second quarter, repeatedly bumping Kyle Kuzma off the block and getting to his spots for easy hooks. Anthony Edwards also had a solid night with 25 points and four 3-pointers but took some ill-advised stepbacks late in the game that sealed Minnesota’s fate.

Overall, this was a very solid win for Washington that demonstrated the power of their depth, as they got the win on the backs of non-star contributors like Dinwiddie (who went 1-9) and Beal. Hopefully, Beal rounds back into shape in the near future and the role players continue to perform. Who knows what their ceiling would be then. Here’s to hoping they can keep things rolling.

All stats courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference

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