MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Washington Wizards continue to show the type of explosiveness they did on Friday night, their horrible start to the season will soon be forgotten.
Caron Butler scored a season-high 29 points, Gilbert Arenas added 27, and the Wizards beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-89 for their third consecutive victory.
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.
"I thought that was a big play for us," center Brendan Haywood said of the steal. "You could see the life drain out of them. They kept talking about, 'It's not over, it's not over.' After that play, they knew it was over."
Rashad McCants led the Wolves with 19 points and Al Jefferson chipped in with 15, but struggled shooting all night and appeared to be bothered by Haywood's size down low.
"Plays aren't just going to happen. You need to make them happen," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said. "You can call it youth or you can call it what you want. There's a little bit of that in there but it can't be an excuse for us."
Both teams lost their first five games of the season, but have played better recently. The Wizards snapped a seven-game skid at the Target Center. Friday's win was the franchise's first in Minnesota since March 7, 2000.
"We started off worse than we can imagine, started off slow," said Arenas, who recently declared that his new nickname is Nacho. "Now we're picking up some momentum. We're just trying to get out of this November alive, because we know December and January is our time."
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.
"I thought we settled for a lot of jump shots," Jefferson said. "We got away from what got us the lead in the first place."
Washington 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 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.
"Guys turned up the intensity a bit on the defensive end," Haywood said. "Guys started passing the ball around more. I just think there was a sense of urgency that we needed to get it done because we knew we couldn't lose this game."
Wittman would have liked to see his team be more decisive later in the game.
"I thought we exhausted the dribble in the fourth quarter," he said. "I though the ball just started sticking too much."
Second-year guard Randy Foye has yet to play this season due to a knee injury. 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.