Wizards close out trip in visit with Wolves

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards will try to polish off an undefeated road trip Friday night when they visit the Target Center to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wiz are 3-0 on this sojourn with victories over the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. After the Boston win on Saturday, Washington celebrated Christmas, but now it's back to business against Minnesota.

The Wizards outscored the Celtics by a 22-7 margin over the final six minutes to pull out the victory. Boston led by as many as 18 at one point.

"Down the stretch we executed and we got stops and that's what you have to do," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. "I told these guys I'm really seeing some growth here and we just got to keep it going."

Trevor Ariza scored a game-high 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 shooting from long range.

John Wall filled the box score with 20 points, nine assists and six steals, while Marcin Gortat, Kevin Seraphin and Nene each chipped in 13 points for the Wizards, who start a home-and-home series with the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

The Wolves are back home after an unsuccessful trip to Los Angeles. Minny fell to the Lakers on Friday night, then dropped an overtime thriller, 120-116 to the Clippers on Sunday.

Minnesota blew a four-point lead with 13 seconds left, then watched Chris Paul convert free throws in overtime.

"It was a tough loss for a lot of reasons, that's all I have to say," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman stated. "I don't want to say anything. I don't want to get fined."

Disagreements with officiating aside, only one Wolves player, Kevin Martin, fouled out. Blake Griffin fouled out for the Clips.

Minnesota's starting frontcourt tandem of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic was dominant despite the loss. Love filled it up, tallying 45 points, 19 rebounds and six assists, while Pekovic scored a career-high 34 points to go with 14 boards.

Martin finished with 16 before fouling out and J.J. Barea added 12 points off the bench.

The Wolves travel to Milwaukee on Saturday, then play three straight at home.

The Wizards beat Minnesota by four (104-100) in Washington on Nov. 19, but the Wiz have struggled at the Target Center. The T'Wolves have won three in a row and 10 of 12 at home over Washington.