Porzingis scores 25, Wizards cruise to win over Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points, including 12, in the third quarter as Washington took control, and the Wizards pulled away for a 132-114 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Rui Hachimura tied a season-high with 21 points and Daniel Gafford had 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for Washington. The Wizards were coming into Boston to open their three-game road trip with a 144–102 loss, but have now won five of seven.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, while D’Angelo Russell finished with 17 points and 11 assists. It was a disappointing loss for the Timberwolves after returning from a four-game road trip.

Minnesota, ranked seventh in the Western Conference, is nearly out of time to climb above the cut and avoid a play-in tournament, with only three regular-season games remaining.

The Timberwolves started the night with two more losses than both fifth-place Denver and sixth-placed Utah before the Nuggets hosted San Antonio and the Jazz hosted Memphis. If Minnesota doesn’t go ahead, it will host a play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers next week.

Washington was knocked out of the playoff race last week, but it was briefly out of the mix as star Bradley Beale was ruled out for the second half of the season with a wrist injury. Most recently, Kyle Kuzma, the third leading scorer, has been absent for nine straight games with a knee injury.

The wizards are playing fine with the spoilers though. Two of his most recent victories have come against potential playoff teams at Golden State and Dallas. He started his game better in mid-March by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers.

Porzingis has been playing a big role ever since he moved to Washington from Dallas in a trade-deadline deal.

In the middle of the third quarter, no team had led more than six before the Wizards scored 18–6 by Porzingis. The 7-foot-3 Latvian hit two 3-pointers, and had a dunk and two layups during the blast.

Minnesota quadrupled the lead with a run at the end of the third. But then Ish Smith hit a buzzer-beating 3 off the halfcourt to end the quarter and Washington dominated fourth, eventually leading 23.

Tip-ins

Wizards: Washington did not shoot a free throw in the first quarter and made only five attempts in the first half. … the Wizards have five consecutive wins over Minnesota.

Timberwolves: Patrick Beverly missed his second straight game with a pain in his right ankle. … F Jaden McDaniels made a comeback after missing nine games with a left ankle sprain. He was on a one-minute ban and went scoreless in 14 minutes. … Towns had 15 points with the first four rebounds and three assists. …Minnesota was 14 out of 41 from a 3-point range.

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The Magician: Visit Atlanta on Wednesday. The Hawks have secured a spot in the play-in tournament with five consecutive wins.

Timberwolves: Host San Antonio on Thursday. The Spurs began the night with a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers for 10th place and the final play-in slot in the West.

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More Associated Press NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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