Timberwolves 131 – Wizards 109: The Letdown Game | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Timberwolves 131 – Wizards 109: The Letdown Game

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Updated: November 3, 2019

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A young team like the Wizards who have an All-Star (Bradley Beal), a former All-Star (Isaiah Thomas) and lots of youth and inexperience, isn’t exactly in a position to declare any game a must-win, but given the circumstances leading up to last night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, that’s exactly what it was.

Minnesota was without their All-Star player Karl Anthony-Towns, who was suspended for fighting/tussling/wrestling with Joel Embid, and although the rest of their roster is certainly formidable, players like Jeff Teague and Andrew Wiggins have been mercurial at best during their NBA careers.

Ideally, the absence of Towns, combined with how well the Wizards played in a one-point loss to an elite-level team like the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night (also known as the night the Nationals won the World Series), should have meant that the Wizards would avoid a letdown.

Even Scott Brooks agreed before the game when he was asked about a possible letdown.

 I don’t think so, this is the first time we’ve had this[a possible letdown game] with this group of guys but I don’t think so we were locked in in our shoot-around.

Brooks was wrong, there was a letdown and the Wizards flat out got spanked, 131-109.

By the 3:58 mark of the first quarter, thanks to anemic offense and hot shooting by T-Wolves forwards Robert Covington and Andrew Wiggins, the T-Wolves led 35-18 and a blowout looked inevitable.

Then the Wizards bench, led by Isaiah Thomas, who scored nine points in just under four minutes, cut the lead down to eight points. The comeback was a bit misleading given that the T-Wolves had pulled their starters and the bench committed three turnovers during that span, but still, the Wizards were confident and their deficit was down to single digits.

The bench eventually worked the T-Wolves lead down to six points at the start of the second quarter, but that was as close as they would get the remainder of the game.

Coach Brooks started gradually working his starters back in the game and  Timberwolves Coach Ryan Saunders began to do the same. Bradley Beal caught fire by scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting but the rest of the team combined to shoot just 26-percent. Gorgui Dieng, who was starting in place of Karl-Anthony Towns, scored 12 points and blocked two of Rui Hachimura’s shots during the second quarter and Jeff Teague added seven points. The Wizards single-digit deficit ballooned back up to 20 during the second quarter before settling at 14 points at halftime, 70-56.

Beal started the second half with a mid-range jumper and pretty assist to a cutting Hachimura after consecutive Timberwolves’ baskets to keep the lead at 14 points, and then Robert Covington caught fire just as Isaiah Thomas had the previous quarter. Covington scored 10 points in less than five minutes and the lead was 24 points.

Washington only scored 16 points on 25 percent shooting in the third quarter, while Minnesota poured in 36 points at a 57 percent shooting clip. Minnesota led by 34 points entering the fourth quarter and the final 12 minutes of the game was extended garbage time.

While coach Brooks seemed quite confident that his team would rise to the occasion before the game, he acknowledged during his post-game remarks that his team was a step slow and made numerous errors defensively. Brooks ultimately took full responsibility for his team’s performance: “We didn’t play to our identity tonight for some reason, we were in a fog. There’s no excuses it’s on me, we gotta start the game much better.”

Beal and Thomas, the veteran all-stars on the team, did not allow Brooks to take the blame. They blamed the team for the loss and vowed to improve:

Safe to say we didn’t come out with the energy we’ve had in previous games. It [was] kind of a trickle-down effect. Our offense was struggling and it carried over into our defense. We weren’t guarding anybody. Can’t really pinpoint it, but it’s something that we’ve got to nip in the bud now versus later….We didn’t play hard. I feel like [the Timberwolves] didn’t do anything outrageous game-wise or plays-wise. They were just out working us in every aspect of the game. – Bradley Beal

We can play better. That was an embarrassing game for us. That should not happen again and we shouldn’t play so well that we should have beat the Houston Rockets the day before and then lose by 30 to the Minnesota Timberwolves without their best players. That’s definitely embarrassing. We gotta learn from that. We gotta be better, every player, every coach. We gotta be better….We addressed it. It won’t happen again.  –  Isaiah Thomas

Next up for the Wizards? Andre Drummond (who had 25 points and 20 rebounds last night against the Brooklyn Nets) and the Detroit Pistons on Monday night here in D.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.