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Wizards send Timberwolves to 7th straight loss, 128-112

Bradley Beal scored 34 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 as part of his NBA-leading 10th triple-double, and the Washington Wizards used a 44-point third quarter to pull away for a 128-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

Westbrook added 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the Wizards, who have won seven of eight to move back into playoff contention following a 6-17 start.

Davis Bertans scored 12 of his 19 points in the third quarter, including four of his five 3-pointers. Garrison Mathews scored 18 points in Washington's first home game following a four-game West Coast trip.

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, center, goes to the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) and forward Anthony Edwards (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)

Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who dropped their seventh straight, matching their longest slide of the season.

Anthony Edwards added 21 points for NBA-worst Minnesota, as starting guard Malik Beasley served the first of a 12-game suspension.

The Timberwolves were in it until Washington's third-quarter outburst, which included an extended 35-12 run.

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, right, shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)

The Wizards scored nine straight to start it, with Westbrook's running dunk and Beal's 3-pointer from the top of the key giving them a 72-67 lead and coaxing Minnesota coach Chris Finch into a timeout.

It was a five-point game before the Wizards made six 3-pointers over a 4:20 stretch. Bertans' last 3 of the quarter, off Westbrook's 11th assist of the game, made it 98-79 with just under a minute left.

TIP-INS

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) passes against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)

Timberwolves: Dropped to 3-5 in the opener of back-to-back games. ... G Jarrett Culver (ankle) returned after a 17-game absence, though he was available for Wednesday's loss in Chicago, Finch said. ... Jarred Vanderbilt had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Wizards: Improved to 6-3 in the opener of back-to-back games. ... Westbrook nearly achieved his triple-double by halftime, entering the break with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He also received his 11th technical foul of the season with 9:36 to play in the game ... Bertans (knee) returned after missing Thursday's win in Denver.

"LIKE FOR LIKE?"

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, top right, shoots under pressure from Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell (4) and forward Josh Okogie, bottom right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)

With Beasley serving the first of a 12-game suspension related to a guilty plea to a felony count of threats of violence, guard Josh Okogie returned to the starting lineup. Finch doesn't expect anyone will serve as a “like-for-like” replacement for Beasley, who is averaging 20.5 points and just over 33 minutes a contest.

“We don’t expect any one person to come in and fill that void,” Finch said. “We’re going to put out lineups out there that suit ourselves to start, and then go from there.”

UP NEXT

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) reacts after he made a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)

Timberwolves: Return home to face Phoenix on Sunday.

Wizards: Visit Boston on Sunday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) loses the ball against Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (42) and forward Deni Avdija, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP PhotoNick Wass)