Timberwolves at Wizards
The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled mightily away from home of late, while the Washington Wizards have found wins hard to come by at home. The two playoff hopefuls will try to reverse their respective trends when they match up Tuesday in the nation's capital.
The Timberwolves secured a big victory in their quest to end a long playoff drought by defeating Golden State 109-103 on Sunday at home to snap a three-game slide, but they are 1-9 in their last 10 road games and the lone victory came at lowly Sacramento. While Minnesota sits in the middle of a cluster of eight teams fighting for six playoff spots in the Western Conference, the Wizards are in fifth in the East but just a game out of third. They fell at Miami 129-102 on Saturday in the second half of a back-to-back - their fourth setback in the last six games - and return to Washington looking to put an end to a 2-5 swoon at Capital One Arena. "I'm disappointed," Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters in Miami. "I'm disappointed in myself. I'm disappointed in our guys. ... Not too many guys in the history of this game can go out and play the way we did tonight and have success. It's not acceptable."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS North (Minnesota), NBCS Washington
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (39-29): Minnesota is 3-3 since losing All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to a knee injury and 1-0 since getting newly acquired Derrick Rose into the rotation, although the latter had just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in seven minutes against Golden State. "My wind was good," Rose told reporters of his first on-court action in over a month, which also included two quick turnovers, "but as far as rust, yeah, losing the ball, just not there yet." Karl-Anthony Towns shouldered the load with 31 points and 16 rebounds for his 57th double-double, five shy of the career high he set last season.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (38-29): Washington impressed in a victory at New Orleans on Friday before flying to Miami and it simply couldn't stick with the Heat after a competitive first 20 minutes. "It's definitely embarrassing," guard Jodie Meeks - who scored a season-high 23 points - told reporters. "There's no excuses for being tired." The Wizards receive two full days off before the matchup with the Timberwolves and - after visiting Boston on Wednesday - play just one game in the following six days for a total of three contests in 10 days.
1. Wizards SG Bradley Beal, who leads the team with 36.4 minutes per game, played under 30 minutes in back-to-back games for the first time since October.
2. Timberwolves SF Andrew Wiggins produced at least 21 points in six of the last seven contests.
3. Washington SF Otto Porter Jr. collected 22 points and eight rebounds in a 92-89 win at Minnesota on Nov. 28.