MINNEAPOLIS -- The Sixers’ defense was still on the All-Star break when the team took on the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday.
Despite finally clamping down in the fourth quarter and making a rally, the Sixers were still handed a 94-87 loss by the Timberwolves. The loss was the Sixers’ seventh straight on the road and dropped their record to 22-30.
Thaddeus Young missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury. He did make the trip and went through a pregame warm-up.
Young is expected to return as early as Sunday in New York, though Sixers head coach Doug Collins seemed more comfortable erring on the side of caution and expects the forward back on Tuesday when the Sixers host the Magic.
Down four points with 1:03 to play, Spencer Hawes drove the lane and tried a layup over Nikola Pekovic, who dominated the paint at both ends of the floor all night. Hawes’ shot only connected with the backboard and the Timberwolves grabbed the rebound.
Hawes finished the night 3 of 9 from the floor for nine points to go with his eight rebounds.
Follow the leader
The 6-foot-11, 280-pound Pekovic controlled the action all night. He was too much for the Sixers to handle and finished the game with a season-high 27 points and 18 rebounds. It was Pekovic’s 20th double-double of the season.
Pekovic’s frontcourt mates also played well. Derrick Williams had 17 points and Andrei Kirilenko scored 15.
Evan Turner led the way for the Sixers with 17 points and Damien Wilkins chipped in with 13 off the bench.
Fresh off his first All-Star appearance, Jrue Holiday scored 16 points and had four assists.
The Sixers have the sixth-lowest free throw percentage in the NBA at 72 percent. They make an average of 12 shots per game from the charity stripe, which is an NBA low.
The Sixers did manage to get to shoot 32 free throws on Wednesday but missed 11 of those attempts.
The Timberwolves were 33 of 44 at the foul line.
Take a bow
Turner had just two points in the first half in 15 minutes. He sat on the bench more than usual because he commited three personal fouls.
Turner got himself going in the second half with 14 points in the third quarter on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 4 of 4 from at the line.
The Sixers will have two days off before they play the best the Eastern Conference has to offer in the Miami Heat.
LeBron James is third in the league in scoring at 27.3 points per game.
The Heat average 103.2 points per game, fifth-best in the NBA and their field goal percentage is the highest in the league at 49.3 percent.