February 25, 2015

Thanks to some solid play at home, the Washington Wizards have fared well since the All-Star break. They'll need to carry that success over to the road, where a good amount of their time will be spent going forward.

The Wizards can end their road struggles to the Minnesota Timberwolves by matching a season high with a fourth straight victory Wednesday night.

Trying to reach .500 for the first time since Jan. 15, Washington (29-30) is 10th in the Eastern Conference but 6-2 since the break and within striking distance of the final three playoff spots. Five of those victories are part of a season-high six-game home winning streak, but the Wizards play 14 of the final 23 on the road, including five of the next six.

"We're taking the right strides and winning," star guard John Wall said. "We've just got to keep playing the right way. ... Keep adding a W in the win column."

The Wizards went 2-5 on the road in February, beating two of the league's worst teams in New York and Philadelphia. Minnesota (19-41) also falls into that category, but Washington has averaged 88.6 points in losing five straight there. The Timberwolves are also averaging 112 points and shooting 49.8 percent while winning five of eight at home.

"It's a good young team," said Wall, who was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting in last February's 97-77 loss at Minnesota in their last meeting. "I love (Andrew) Wiggins and (Zach) LaVine. Definitely (Karl-Anthony Towns). To me, he's the rookie of the year."

If the Wizards are to turn things around in Minnesota, they must offer a more complete effort than was shown in Monday's 116-108 win over Philadelphia.

Wall and Marcin Gortat combined for 29 points in the fourth quarter as Washington used a 16-0 run in the final period to prevail. One night after holding a Cleveland team minus LeBron James to 40 percent shooting in a 113-99 victory, the Wizards allowed lowly Philadelphia to shot 48.3 percent and open the second half on a 26-6 run

The Wizards also shot 48.3 percent but their 17 turnovers were the most in as many games.

''You always appreciate a win but it's not the way we wanted to win,'' said Wall, who finished with 37 points on 13-of-26 shooting. ''I feel like we took a step back.''

Gortat scored 18 and has a career-high 20 rebounds.

"We just show up and we play hard," he said.

The Timberwolves showed up in Dallas on Sunday, but didn't seem to play all that hard during a 128-101 defeat. After shooting 50.6 percent in the previous three games, Minnesota shot 37.8 and gave up their second-most points of the season while the Mavericks made good on 52.8 percent of their attempts.

"We just look like a tired basketball team,'' said interim Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell, whose club allowed an average of 112.7 points and 48.3 percent shooting during a 5-6 February.

After posting 30 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday's two-point win at New Orleans, Towns recorded his rookie-leading 34th double-double with a modest 12 and 11 boards Sunday.

The Timberwolves are 3-14 when Towns scores 12 or less.

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