Wizards limit Timberwolves’ stars to snap losing skid

Kevin Love looked as if he was headed for a big night against Washington. Instead, the Wizards kicked their defense up measurably and held the NBA’s third-leading scorer below his season average.

Love, who entered the game averaging 26.8 points, had 16 in the first quarter but only nine afterward as Washington broke its four-game losing streak with a 104-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

“I thought he was going for 70 in the first eight minutes,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Love, who made five of his first six shots, missed eight of his final 11 to finish with 25. He had 11 rebounds, also below his season average.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points, while John Wall added 14 points and tied his career high with 16 assists for Washington.

Martel Webster’s 3-pointer with 42 seconds to play gave the Wizards a 100-98 lead. Beal added two free throws with 12.9 seconds left to make it 102-98.

Webster had 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

Minnesota started furiously. A 13-2 first-quarter run put them up by 10, and Love had 16 points by the end of the quarter with the Timberwolves ahead 34-27.

Love played half the second quarter, missed his only shot, and had just one point, but Minnesota led 63-51 in the half.

“I thought when we came out to start the game, it was again lethargic. We weren’t dictating things defensively. We got upset at halftime and turned it on,” Wittman said.

Prior to Tuesday morning’s shootaround, the Wizards had a players-only meeting, one that Wittman feigned ignorance about before the game.

After the game, he joked that he liked the meeting’s result.

“After halftime I was going to have another one. I wasn’t going to go in there. I’ll do whatever it takes for a win, trust me,” Wittman said.

Besides holding Love down, Washington also stopped Kevin Martin, who was averaging 24.4 points. He was held to 11.

“We need everybody every night. We can’t usually get by if we have a couple guys with off games,” Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said.

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