Hollis Thompson (left), Lavoy Allen (middle) and Brandon Davies sit on the bench during the end of the Sixers' 106-99 loss to the Timberwolves. (AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Things simply didn’t add up for the Sixers on Wednesday night.
While the team played one of its best first quarters of the season on the way to building a 19-point advantage over Minnesota, it wouldn’t last. The Sixers allowed the lead to disappear during the second half in a 106-99 loss to the Timberwolves (see Instant Replay).
The loss was the Sixers’ ninth straight on the road as their record fell to 7-16. The Sixers are now 1-11 on the season when they don’t score at least 100 points.
“We put ourselves in position to win a game on the road and that is hard to do,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “I think the energy and effort that our guys continue to give, I’m proud of them. I think to look at the free throw numbers and the difference and to look at the turnovers and the difference, that coupled with some other numbers you would close your eyes and say that is a 30-point loss.”
It wasn’t, but it may sting just like a blowout. Especially when you factor in that the Sixers contributed a lot to their own demise.
They had 26 turnovers in the game and took just 14 free throw attempts. On the flip side, the Timberwolves had 16 giveaways and were 25 of 29 from the charity stripe.
“It is the prime example, especially for a young team, when you get a team down you have to understand the situation,” Spencer Hawes said. “You have a team down 20, that is coming off a back-to-back, you have an opportunity to put a stamp on it. You have to take advantage of that. Credit them, they kept battling and they fought their way back.”
The Timberwolves outscored the Sixers by 10 points in each of the final two quarters to erase a 13-point halftime deficit. Kevin Love led the way for the Timberwolves with 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
Still, this was a game the Sixers should have won. They were plus-15 on fast-break points and scored 42 points in the paint.
But it all came down to turnovers for a team that is second-worst in the league in giveaways per game at 17.7. Every time the team appeared to be slowing down the T-wolves’ momentum, it would commit another error.
Evan Turner was big culprit, committing nine of the Sixers’ turnovers.
“I think we play in a crowd too much,” Brown said. “I think we try to force too much. I think it is simple. If someone else is open you pass it. It is really hard to candy coat it.”
“If you are playing in a crowd you have a problem. We had 15 assists in the first half. We had seven in the second. We had 39 points in the first period and 38 in the second half. There is a disconnect and we need to address that.”
With Michael Carter-Williams out again with a sore knee, Turner and Tony Wroten found themselves sharing the Sixers’ ball-handling duties once again. They are both individuals who like to dribble a lot and penetrate the lane. However, they need to find a better balance to help cut down on the miscues.
“We play good together. As coach says all the time, we aren’t selfish. It is just sometimes we try to be too aggressive trying to see the open man,” said Wroten, who tied Hawes for a team high with 20 points. “I see improvement offensively and most definitely defensively. Coach got on us a lot defensively. We lost tonight, but I feel like we are getting better every single day.”
“I feel bad for our guys because we were in position to win,” Brown added. “We just weren’t able to pull it off because of a lot of turnovers and good plays by them.”