Instant Replay: Timberwolves 126, Sixers 95

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Instant Replay: Timberwolves 126, Sixers 95

BOX SCORE

The Sixers had little recovery time after flying cross-country Saturday night into Sunday morning following their fourth consecutive win.

However, they still looked fresh early against the Minnesota Timberwolves in their first game at the Wells Fargo Center after their six-game road trip.

It wouldn’t last.

The Sixers were throttled in a 126-95 loss to the Timberwolves to drop their record to 12-22 on the seaon.

Turning point
The Sixers were tied with the Timberwolves at 46 with seven minutes to play in the first half. Minnesota proceeded to go on a 24-8 run to close out the half with a 70-54 lead.

The 70 points were one shy of the Sixers’ season high allowed in a first half this season.

Follow the leader
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 26 points and he sat the entire fourth quarter. Nikola Pekovic had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes.

Thaddeus Young scored 20 points in 28 minutes, while James Anderson came off the bench to score 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting. Anderson also grabbed seven rebounds.

Stat-egic
One game after holding Portland’s NBA-leading three-point shooting attack to 3 of 22 from behind the arc, the Sixers allowed Minnesota to connect on 16 of 26 three-point attempts (61.5 percent) (see 6 observations).

The Timberwolves came into Monday’s game averaging 7.8 threes per game and 33.7 percent.

Take a bow
The Timberwolves’ defense held the Sixers to 95 points. They also forced Brett Brown’s group into 23 turnovers and turned those errors into 30 points.

During the Sixers’ four-game winning streak, they averaged 13.3 turnovers, almost four less than their season average.

What’s next?
The Sixers play the Cavaliers in Cleveland Tuesday night. The Sixers and Cavs split their two meetings this season when they played a back-to-back set on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

Joel Embiid admits to aggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid admits to aggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.

After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.

Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.

"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.

"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."

Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below. 

Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon. 

 

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day.