The Minnesota Timberwolves look to go 3-1 on a four-game homestand when they match up with the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Minnesota is off to a strong 12-8 start and it could get better with four-time Washington All-Star John Wall sidelined with a left knee injury.
Wall is expected to miss approximately two more weeks and the Wizards are mired in a slump in which they have dropped four of their last five games. Washington is hoping platelet injections will settle down the inflammation in Wall’s knee and keep him from experiencing a longer absence. The Timberwolves are coming off Sunday’s 119-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns as center Karl-Anthony Towns had 32 points and 12 rebounds for his NBA-leading 16th double-double. “It’s good to get a win, no matter what,” Towns said afterward. “What kind of win, whether it’s ugly, very good looking, it doesn’t matter. All wins count the same and I‘m glad we came out with a win.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN Washington, FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (10-9): Shooting guard Bradley Beal will be counted on to lead Washington through the stretch without Wall and he has been superb this season with an average of 24.2. Beal scored 26 points in Saturday’s 108-105 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers for his sixth consecutive 20-point outing but was disappointed he missed the tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer. “I guess there was just a little guy sitting on top of the rim knocking the ball out of there,” Beal said afterward. “I definitely put it on my shoulders.”
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (12-8): Towns’ big effort against the Suns came after he failed to reach 20 points in five consecutive games and drew criticism from coach Tom Thibodeau over his lack of movement away from the ball. Power forward Taj Gibson was only in line for praise after producing 16 points and a season-best 14 rebounds against the Suns for his seventh double-double. “He adds a lot to the team, the way he plays,” Thibodeau said afterward. “He’s got great quickness, he’s got great feet, but there’s a toughness to him that makes him what we need, too.”
1. The teams split last season’s two meetings and each squad has won eight of their past 16 matchups.
2. Minnesota PG Jeff Teague (Achilles) could miss his third consecutive contest.
3. Washington SF Otto Porter Jr. had 24 points and 10 rebounds against Portland for his sixth double-double of the campaign.
PREDICTION: Timberwolves 107, Wizards 104