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Wizards take control late in win over Wolves

Apr 5, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) drives to the basket while Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) defends in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points and Daniel Gafford added a career-high 24 as the visiting Washington Wizards pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 132-114 on Tuesday.

Rui Hachimura had 21 points and Deni Avdija added 17 for Washington (35-44), which led by as many as 23 and won for the fifth time in seven games. Corey Kispert and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points apiece.

Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota (45-35) with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Edwards scored 18 points, D’Angelo Russell added 17 points and 11 assists, Malik Beasley had 14 points and Taurean Prince and Jaylen Nowell each scored 11.

Ish Smith tallied 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high 14 assists for Washington, which bounced back from a 42-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday. The Wizards have won their last five meetings against Minnesota.

The Wolves were outscored 72-42 in the paint.

Washington carried an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter and extended its lead to 122-99 with 5:22 remaining. The Wizards outscored the Wolves 31-21 in the final period.

Washington led 31-27 late in the first quarter before Minnesota closed on an 11-4 run to move ahead 38-35. Towns had 15 points in the quarter to lead all scorers.

Towns was held scoreless in the second quarter, when Washington outscored the Wolves 32-28 and took a 67-66 advantage into the break. Porzingis led the Wizards’ second-quarter surge with 13 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

Washington stretched its lead to 96-84 on Porzingis’ trey with 2:33 left in the third quarter. Smith hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wizards a 101-93 lead at the end of the quarter.

Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels returned following a nine-game absence (sprained ankle) and was held scoreless in 15 minutes.

Washington played without forward Kyle Kuzma, who missed his 10th straight game with right knee tendinitis.

Gafford had a season-high 12 rebounds for Washington, which shot 55.4 percent from the field and 13 of 30 (43.3 percent) from 3-point range.

–Field Level Media