Beal scores 44 again as Wizards top Timberwolves
By Tyler Mason
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 44 points for the second straight game and the Washington Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak with a 137-116 win over the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
It was the third 40-point game of the season for Beal, who has topped 30 five times in his last seven games. His 44 points came on 15-of-22 shooting.
Moritz Wagner came off the bench for Washington to add 30 points and 15 rebounds — both career highs. Wagner also drew three charges to help spark the Wizards’ defense in the first half.
Washington dominated Minnesota down low all night. The Wizards scored 76 points in the paint, a season high.
Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns, celebrating his 24th birthday, led the Timberwolves with 36 points. Towns, who missed the first meeting with Washington this season while serving a two-game suspension, scored 19 in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves were without leading scorer Andrew Wiggins, who missed the game due to personal reasons. Wiggins was averaging a team-high 25.9 points through the first 11 games of the season.
Wiggins had been especially effective over his last six games, in which he averaged 31.6 points.
Washington led by 12 in the first half and took a 13-point lead early in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Wagner.
As the Timberwolves adjusted their lineup in Wiggins’ absence, point guard Jeff Teague stepped back into the starting five after coming off the bench Wednesday against San Antonio. He had 13 points and 11 assists.
Wizards: Entered with the third-worst scoring defense in the NBA, allowing 120 points per game. … The Wizards scored 27 points off 20 Minnesota turnovers, a season high. … Washington’s 38 assists marked a season high.
Timberwolves: Head coach Ryan Saunders didn’t know if Wiggins would be available Saturday against Houston. “I don’t comment necessarily on personal matters,” Saunders said. “But one thing I will say is family is family, and we are family. Andrew has the time that he needs to deal with any personal matters.” … Minnesota transferred two-way player Kelan Martin to the roster. Martin entered late in the first quarter, his second appearance with the Timberwolves this season. … The Wolves were 11 for 37 from 3-point range.
Wizards: At the Orlando Magic on Sunday, the final stop on a three-game road trip.
Timberwolves: Host the Rockets on Saturday. Houston will be without Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela.