Sixers vs. Timberwolves -- 8 p.m., CSN
Target Center, Minneapolis
Sixers: 22-29 (fourth place in Atlantic Division, ninth place in Eastern Conference)
Timberwolves: 19-31 (fifth in Northwest Division, 12th place in Western Conference)
The Sixers last battled the Timberwolves Dec. 4 in Philadelphia. Minnesota routed the Sixers 105-88, but both teams’ rosters have been shaken up since. Minnesota’s starting lineup featured three players who are not even on the active roster anymore. Kevin Love, Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee, who combined for 32 points against the Sixers, are out with injuries. For the Sixers, Jason Richardson scored 14 points, but he's out for the season with a knee injury. Nick Young missed that game with a toe injury.
While the 76ers' poor shooting hampered them (5 for 20 from three and 13 for 23 from the line), their poor defense was the reason for the defeat. The Sixers allowed Minnesota to shoot 53.2 percent from the floor and 52 percent from three while grabbing just 27 defensive rebounds.
Evan Turner had a game-high 19 points, but it was not enough to overcome seven Timberwolves in double-figures, led by Alexey Shved’s 17 points.
The Sixers have lost two in a row and three of four, and their offense has gone missing since February began. They're averaging just 84.1 points this month with a high of 92 in their most recent game, a loss to the Bucks on Feb. 13. Turner and Spencer Hawes were the top scorers with 20 and 19, respectively.
Minnesota has been dreadful of late, losing 16 of its last 19 games and giving up 100 or more points in eight of its last 13. Despite a monster 24-point, 16-rebound performance from Derrick Williams in the Wolves' last game, they fell 97-93 to the Jazz. Utah’s big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined for 41 points and 19 rebounds.
“Hot” may be a stretch, but Arnett Moultrie has filled in nicely since Thaddeus Young went down with a hamstring injury. In the four games since Young’s injury, Moultrie has averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds, far exceeding his season averages of 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds. The rookie has also managed to stay out of foul trouble, committing just five in the four games.
Ricky Rubio has four double-doubles in his last six games, averaging 15 points and 10 assists over that span. Rubio also has nine steals in the last two games.
Sixers (Season Averages)
Jrue Holiday (19 ppg, 8.9 apg)
Nick Young (11.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Evan Turner (13.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
Lavoy Allen (6.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Spencer Hawes (10.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
Timberwolves (Season Averages)
Ricky Rubio (7.8 ppg, 6.5 apg)
Luke Ridnour (12.3 ppg, 3.9 apg)
Andrei Kirilenko (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
Derrick Williams (9.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Nikola Pekovic (15.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg)