T-Wolves to face Wizards minus Towns

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The Minnesota Timberwolves will be short-handed Saturday night when they visit Washington to take on the Wizards and try to start a new winning streak.

Minnesota won its first three games before losing at Philadelphia (117-95) on Wednesday night. That game included a fight between Karl-Anthony Towns and the Sixers’ Joel Embiid that resulted in two-game suspension for both players.

Towns’ suspension begins against the Wizards.

“While we are disappointed with the league’s decision, we understand the magnitude of this unfortunate incident,” Minnesota president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said in a statement. We support Karl and will move forward together as a group.”

The Timberwolves will need to make up for the offense that Towns won’t be able to provide. He’s averaging a double-double with 27.3 points and 11.5 rebounds through the first four games.

Andrew Wiggins (20.3 ppg.) is Minnesota’s second-leading scorer and Jeff Teague (17.5) ranks third. Robert Covington (10.3) also could pitch in.

The Timberwolves announced Thursday they exercised the third-year option on guard Josh Okogie, who’s averaging 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in his second NBA season.

This will be Minnesota’s only visit to Washington this season.

The Wizards are coming off a wild 159-158 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, when Bradley Beal scored 46 points. The game saw the Wizards give up 48 points in the fourth quarter and waste an 11-point lead.

Beal, averaging 26.8 points and 7.8 assists, has been Washington’s main offensive weapon. The Wizards — likely without John Wall (torn Achilles) all season — will need to keep playing hard.

“We know we compete each and every night,” Beal said on the team’s web site. “That’s what we expect of ourselves, and we did that (against Houston). A lot of things didn’t go our way, but other than that, if we play like this, we’ll win a lot of games.”

Despite not having Wall, the Wizards have played well through the first four games. Their 1-3 record includes a two-point loss at San Antonio, the one-point loss to Houston and another close defeat (108-100) in Dallas.

The loss to the Rocket occurred in Washington’s home opener. The game with Minnesota is the middle contest of a three-game homestand that concludes Monday against Detroit.

–Field Level Media

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