Game On: Wizards-Timberwolves preview

Game On: Wizards-Timberwolves preview
December 26, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Webster serenades camera with Christmas tunes

The Wizards could be back at .500 with another victory representing their fourth in a row, all coming away from Verizon Center. If they win two of their last three games of 2013, they'll enter the new year no worse than .500. 

TV: CSN+, 8 p.m. ET Friday at Target Center. Radio: WFED-AM 1500.

Last game: Wizards (12-13) won at the Boston Celtics 106-99 on Saturday, their third consecutive victory -- all on the road; Timberwolves (13-15) lost at the Los Angeles Clippers 120-116 OT on Sunday, their fourth loss in six games. 

Last meeting: Wizards won 104-100 on Nov. 19 at Verizon Center. They erased a 13-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Timberwolves 30-18 in the third quarter and holding them to 35% shooting in the fourth and a 7-0 edge in fast-break points. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Timberwolves –- PG Ricky Rubio, SG Kevin Martin, SF Corey Brewer, PF Kevin Love, C Nikola Pekovic.

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Entry passes: 1). Second-half defense during this win streak has been exceptional but Wizards have a habit of blowing double-digit leads. 2). Can Booker do as good of a good vs. Love as Nene, who held him to one point in the fourth quarter of their first meeting? 3). Bench averages almost 40 points with Nene and Martell Webster. 4) Minute restrictions still in place for Beal and Nene. 5). Wall is better when he allows his defense to fuel his offense. 

X-factors: Nene (right foot/Achilles) is averaging 23 minutes per game since returning from injury and is averaging 15 points. ... Backup C Kevin Seraphin (right knee) didn't practice Monday but should be able to play. ... SF/SG Otto Porter is starting to get more playing time in key moments, particularly the fourth quarter, and could be near having a breakout game. 

He said it: "We just went into a rough patch. We weren't clicking. We weren't doing what we have being doing to win games. Hopefully, now that we're back to winning or whatever, it continues." -- Ariza on recovering from a four-game losing streak to win three in a row

Around the bend: The Wizards will return immediately after the game to play the Detroit Pistons at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET), will be off Sunday and close 2013 on Monday at the Pistons (CSN, 7:30). 

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