MINNEAPOLIS – Caron Butler scored a season-high 29 points, Gilbert Arenas added 27, and the Washington Wizards beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-89 on Friday night.

Arenas scored six straight points to ignite a decisive 20-3 fourth-quarter run that helped the Wizards take control. Butler also had a key steal of an inbounds pass and Minnesota committed several turnovers during that decisive stretch.

Rashad McCants led the Wolves with 19 points and Al Jefferson chipped in with 15, but struggled shooting all night.

Both teams lost their first five games of the season, but have played better recently. The Wizards won their third in a row overall and snapped a seven-game skid at the Target Center. Friday’s win was the franchise’s first in Minnesota since March 7, 2000.

The young Timberwolves appeared to be pulling away in the third quarter, but the Wizards stormed back.

A long jumper from Darius Songalia capped a 14-2 run and helped Washington erase a 12-point Minnesota lead in the third. Arenas gave the Wizards the lead for good by sinking a jumper with about five minutes left in the fourth.

Washington (3-5) coach Eddie Jordan said before the game that his team needed to attack the basket and play with “disciplined aggression.” That’s exactly what it did to start the game and to finish it.

The Wizards made five layups and led 10-2 before the game was three minutes old. Minnesota allowed a season-high 32 points in the first quarter and trailed by eight.

Veteran reserve Antoine Walker sparked the Wolves in the second. The journeyman forward sank three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points as Minnesota took a 51-47 lead into the locker room.

But turnovers eventually caught up with the Wolves in the second half. Minnesota had a season-high 20 turnovers, resulting in 29 Wizards points.

Notes: Second-year guard Randy Foye has yet to play this season due to a knee injury. Wolves coach Randy Wittman jokingly asked him during the pregame shootaround if he was playing tonight. However, Wittman’s smile turned to a scowl once Foye replied with a yes and went into a slow-motion spin move. … All five Washington starters had a basket less than three minutes into the game. … Wolves forward Craig Smith returned after missing one game with a sprained ankle. … Only six players on either team were in the league the last time the Wizards won at the Target Center.

AP-ES-11-16-07 2244EST


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