Wiggins, Wolves could feast on Wizards

NBA
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Andrew Wiggins received a standing ovation from the crowd at Target Center in the latter stages of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ last game.

With the way Wiggins has played this season, the crowd might as well just stand on its feet from the onset.

Wiggins looks to continue his torrid play on Friday as the Timberwolves bid for their third straight victory when they host the Washington Wizards in Minneapolis.

The top overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Wiggins tallied a game-high 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Minnesota to a 129-114 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday.

“I feel like everybody is happy for each other,” the 24-year-old Wiggins said. “When someone does good, there’s genuine love.”

Timberwolves fans must love what they have seen from Wiggins, who has recorded five straight performances with at least 25 points and five assists and has averaged 31.6 and 6.0, respectively, over that span.

Wiggins’ last game in which he didn’t score at least 25 points came in a 131-109 victory at Washington on Nov. 2. He scored 21.

Karl-Anthony Towns sat out that tilt while serving the first contest of his two-game suspension for his altercation with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. Towns, however, hasn’t missed a step by averaging 24.6 points and 12.4 rebounds since his return, with 28 and 11, respectively, coming in his seventh double-double of the season on Wednesday.

Towns said that opponents might be thinking they are playing the Timberwolves of old, as opposed to the new-look club that isn’t shy about testing the perimeter.

“They’ve been so used to us taking midranges and layups and whatever … that we never adjusted to what the game has changed to,” said Towns, whose 24th birthday is Friday. “Not only have we now changed to what the modern NBA is, we are excelling at it tremendously well and being pioneers of excellence with it.”

Coach Ryan Saunders has seen his team embrace the change, too.

“Hey, if you haven’t watched us much, these guys are fun to be around,” Saunders said.

More fun could be had at the expense of the struggling Wizards, who have lost six of seven and are hemorrhaging points defensively in the process. Washington permitted north of 120 for the fifth time this season in a 140-133 setback to Boston on Wednesday.

“If we continue to work and continue to figure out what we’re not doing right and correcting those things, we can be a better defensive team,” Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas said. “But until then, it’s going to be hard to win if we are giving up 140 points in regulation.”

Bradley Beal shot 17 of 27 from the floor against the Celtics to highlight his 44-point performance, marking the second time this season and 14th in his career that he has scored at least 40.

Beal is averaging a robust 28.1 points while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, however offense hardly is the issue in his mind.

“When you score 133 points, that should win games. Especially on the road,” said Beal, who finished with 30 in the previous game versus the Timberwolves.

Rookie forward Rui Hachimura was far more blunt.

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good,” the 21-year-old said, per NBC Sports Washington.

–Field Level Media

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