Instant Replay: Timberwolves 106, Sixers 99

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Instant Replay: Timberwolves 106, Sixers 99

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Sixers’ road losing streak has to end at some point.

Entering Wednesday, it had been 32 days since the Sixers won a game away from the Wells Fargo Center. Now it will be at least 34 days before they get another chance to snap the skid.

The Sixers allowed a huge lead to get away from them in a 106-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The Sixers led by as many as 19 points in the game and 13 at halftime.

The loss dropped the Sixers’ overall record to 7-16 and just 1-9 on the road.

The Sixers can pinpoint to two categories where the game got away from them -- turnovers and the free throw line. The Sixers committed 26 turnovers to the Timberwolves’ 13, while they also made 12 free throws compared to the Minnesota’s 25.

Michael Carter-Williams missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee. He is listed as day to day.

Turning point
With 8:27 to play in the game, Robbie Hummel hit a corner three to give the Timberwolves their first lead of the night at 87-86.

The Timberwolves built a five-point lead with a 13-3 run in four and a half minutes to start the fourth quarter and went on to secure the win.

Follow the leader
Kevin Love played as advertised. The NBA’s sixth-leading scorer and top rebounder finished the game with 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

Ricky Rubio was more of a scorer and less of a facilitator against the Sixers with 21 points and seven assists. Center Nikola Petrovic had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Sixers veteran three came with their “A” game at the offensive end. In the first half, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes shot a combined 16 of 27 for 36 of the Sixers’ 61 points.

Hawes finished with 20 points, while Young added 16.

Turner shot just 6 of 16 for the game and finished with 13 points. He also had nine of the Sixers’ turnovers.

Stat-egic
The Sixers made 17 of 22 first-quarter field goal attempts (77.2 percent) and led, 39-20. Fifteen of their points came on the fast break.

Turner made 5 of 6 from the field for a 10-point first quarter, and defensively the Sixers held Minnesota to 30.8 shooting.

That stellar combination of offense and defense in the first quarter was one of the Sixers’ best starts to a game this season.

Take a bow
James Anderson earned the Sixers’ starting two-guard spot with his preseason play. He stayed in that role for 17 games before head coach Brett Brown made a switch and replaced Anderson with Hollis Thompson.

Coming into Wednesday, Anderson was shooting 19 percent from behind the arc over his last nine games, compared to 39 percent in his first 13 outings.

Anderson was 2 of 3 from long distance against the Timberwolves. He finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

What’s next?
The Sixers play the Raptors in Toronto Friday in the second of four meeting between the two teams this season.

The Raptors beat the Sixers, 108-98, at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 20. The Sixers were without Young in that game while he was away from the team for personal reasons. Hawes picked up the slack by scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

The Raptors were led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 33 points.

NBA Notes: Cavs staying humble with chance to close out Celtics

NBA Notes: Cavs staying humble with chance to close out Celtics

BOSTON -- It took 10 games and halfway through the third round of the NBA playoffs before the Cleveland Cavaliers finally encountered their first true dose of resistance this postseason.

After cruising to a 2-0 Eastern Conference finals lead over Boston, the Cavs were humbled at home in a Game 3 loss, and needed a 42-point night from Kyrie Irving to battle back from a 16-point hole and win Game 4.

The chatter about an NBA Finals' matchup of two teams with unblemished playoff records is gone, but the challenge from the Celtics has sharpened the focus of the defending champs. Cleveland is expecting another unflinching effort in Game 5 from a Celtics team that isn't backing down despite facing a 3-1 deficit in the series.

"The closeout game is always the hardest.and Boston is going to make it even harder," said LeBron James, who rebounded from a playoff-low 11 points in Game 3 to score 34 in Game 4.

James had been saying that he felt like the Cavs needed to go through some adversity after a blistering 10-0 start to the postseason.

The way they responded Tuesday night -- particularly on the defensive end -- is a good sign for their prospects of wrapping up their third straight Eastern Conference crown on Thursday (see full story).

NBA: Charlotte awarded 2019 All-Star Game
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NBA All-Star game will be coming to Charlotte in 2019, two years after the city was to host the event.

The NBA announced Wednesday the game will be played at Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.

The All-Star game had been set for Charlotte last February, but the NBA moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release that while he understands the concerns of those who say the repeal of the HB2 law didn't go far enough, "the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law."

The All-Star weekend festivities in Charlotte are set for Feb. 15-17, 2019.

Bucks: GM search opening up after Hammond exit
Boasting a budding star and an impressive roster of young talent, the Milwaukee Bucks are opening up their search for a new general manager to lead them into contention in the Eastern Conference.

After longtime GM John Hammond left to join friend Jeff Weltman in the Orlando Magic front office, the Bucks are bringing in respected league executive Rod Thorn to help with the search for a replacement, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bucks were not publicly discussing their search.

Assistant GM Justin Zanik was believed to be the heir apparent to Hammond when he left the Utah Jazz to join the Bucks. Zanik, a promising young executive who was an agent before spending three years under Dennis Lindsey in Utah, will get the opportunity to interview for the position, but outside candidates will also be considered. ESPN first reported the details of Milwaukee's search.

The job figures to be an attractive one for prospective executives. Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoyed a breakout season this year, earning a starting spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team and cementing himself as a franchise player.

Milwaukee also has Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker to go with Jabari Parker, a former No. 2 overall pick who is recovering from his second torn ACL.

The Bucks are building a new arena and have enjoyed a revival in the city under new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens and coach Jason Kidd.

Whether it is Zanik or someone else, it will be a critical hire to help the Bucks move from a team that lost in six games to the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs to one that is ready to challenge the Cavaliers and Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference (see full story).

Lakers: Celebrity trainer Peterson hired
LOS ANGELES -- A celebrity trainer known for getting the Kardashian clan into shape is going to work for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gunnar Peterson is the Lakers' new director of strength and endurance training, the team announced Wednesday.

Peterson has been a favorite trainer among entertainers and athletes for many years while running a well-regarded private gym in Beverly Hills. His client list has included Sylvester Stallone, Halle Berry, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Pete Sampras, along with most of the Kardashian family.

Peterson will develop a strength and conditioning program for the Lakers, general manager Rob Pelinka says.

The 16-time NBA champion franchise has replaced several key members of its internal staff since Magic Johnson and Pelinka assumed control of basketball operations earlier this year.

NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Former University of Kansas basketball player Josh Jackson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation for backing into a car and driving away.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Jackson entered his plea Tuesday in Lawrence Municipal Court to striking an unattended vehicle. Two other charges, inattentive driving and improper backing, were dismissed.

Jackson, who is expected to be a top draft pick in next month's NBA draft, will be on probation for six months and must pay a $250 fine. If he violates his probation, Jackson would have to serve 30 days in jail.

Coach Bill Self suspended Jackson for the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament because of the incident.

The 6-foot-8 Jackson has now resolved two cases that had dogged him during his lone year at Kansas. He earlier reached a diversion agreement that requires him to attend anger management classes, write a letter of apology and refrain from using alcohol or recreational drugs for a year for his confrontation with a Jayhawks women's basketball player last year.

Jackson had pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage after he argued with McKenzie Calvert on Dec. 9 outside a bar in Lawrence. He signed the diversion agreement on April 26.