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Back in Minnesota, Saunders sees Wizards stumble

MINNEAPOLIS | For the Washington Wizards to play consistent enough basketball to win five or six in a row, as coach Flip Saunders predicted earlier this week they soon would, they will have to find a way to eliminate stinkers like this from their repertoire.

They brought a two-game winning streak into Saturday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a wayward, immature outfit still trying to rebuild from the free fall that got Saunders fired midway through the 2004-05 season. And the Wizards did what good teams won't do: They let the Timberwolves hang around past the point where mistakes would be fatal, then watched young legs trump veteran performers.

The day-after-Christmas contest, played in half-empty Target Center, never pretended to be anything other than a pair of bad NBA teams trying to win in spite of numerous flaws. In the end, though, the Timberwolves outhustled the Wizards, particularly in the fourth quarter, and came away with just their seventh win of the year by beating Washington 101-89.

The Wizards, trying for their first three-game win streak since April 2008, were again left searching.

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