Otto Porter Jr. comes through late to lift Wizards past Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS — The Washington Wizards, entering a grueling stretch of their schedule without their four-time all-star point guard, played a few cards Tuesday night they weren’t accustomed to — and the result was a stirring 92-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In their first victory since John Wall was shut down for about two weeks with left knee inflammation, the Wizards overcame a double-digit deficit by turning to their defense, their bench and, more than anything, the most understated member of the team’s big three — Otto Porter Jr.
Porter had a game-high 22 points, including the Wizards’ final two field goals — a game-tying play at the rim off a nice pass from Mike Scott and a 22-foot jumper to put the Wizards ahead with 25 seconds remaining.
Washington (11-9) snapped a two-game losing streak at a key time with the Philadelphia 76ers visiting Capital One Arena on Wednesday night for the second game of a back-to-back set for the Wizards.
Though Bradley Beal hit the free throw in the closing moments to produce the final margin, he played almost 35 minutes as the team’s sole facilitator. Beal collected six assists, but his stint as lead guard affected his own offense as he faced clogged lanes and defenders loading up on pick-and-roll plays.
“They didn’t want me to get anything going,” said Beal, who finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting. “I wasn’t necessarily scoring and I’m okay with that because someone else is. Our team is going to score one way or another.”
And as Beal struggled to score, Porter filled the offensive gaps.
One day after Beal implored Porter to become a more vocal alpha male in Wall’s absence, Beal shared a story from Tuesday’s game in which Porter requested more looks in the fourth quarter in the post against a smaller Timberwolves guard. With 25 seconds remaining, the Wizards needed a basket and ran a play for Porter. His one-dribble pull-up jumper produced…