The Sixers hold on to win against Minnesota 93-91


In a rematch between Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to get revenge and beat the Timberwolves.

A score to settle

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night 93-91 in Philadelphia. The Sixers were looking to get some revenge following the November 17th, 24-point loss in Minnesota on national television.

Following Sixers practice this past Monday, in an interview with Brian Seltzer from, Sixers head coach Bret Brown was asked about Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota. His response was “It’s one of those games since it ended, personally, you just can’t wait to play them again.” “Our guys can’t wait to play them again,” Brown said. The Sixers shorthanded, were again without starters Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez. Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell would start instead.

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Starting off strong

Starting off early, the Sixers jumped out to a 17-12 lead with 4:23 left in the 1st quarter. The Timberwolves seemed to have trouble defending against dribble penetration. Minnesota’s defense is ranked 26th in the league, allowing over 111 points per game.

The Sixers moved the ball well, scoring off of uncontested jumpers and getting penetration to the basket. T.J. McConnell and Nerlens Noel hooked up for two alley-oop dunks in the first quarter. Noel was aggressive early on, contributing for 8 points in just his first 5 minutes of play. Bret Brown stuck to his normal rotation during the 1st quarter. However, Jahlil Okafor saw no action until 8:40 in the 2nd quarter. Okafor played only 10 minutes, scoring 2 points and 4 rebounds.

With less than 30 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Joel Embiid and Minnesota rookie Kris Dunn got physical. The two exchanged a few shoves while in transition down court. The result was a personal foul called on Kris Dunn. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Sixers led 29-16.

Keeping Pace

In the 2nd quarter, the combination of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid looked good. The duo shared the ball and backed each other defensively, making it difficult for Minnesota to score. Embiid and last season’s Rookie of the Year award winner, Karl Anthony-Towns, were matched up through most of the half. Embiid got the better of their exchanges on the offensive end. Towns finished the game with 23 points and 15 boards. Both teams exchanged points back and forth throughout most of the second quarter, with 5:22 left in the half, the Sixers continued to lead 42-28.

By the end of the second quarter, the Sixers outscored the Wolves 28-26, giving them a 15-point lead, the score at half time was 57-42 Philadelphia. The Sixers were also beating the Wolves on the offensive boards, at an 8-3 clip. Philly took better care of the ball, with only 3 turnovers compared to Minnesota’s 9 in the half. At halftime Joel Embiid led all scorers with 16 points and 4 rebounds.

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Reduce the gap

After half-time, a quick 7-0 run by Philadelphia widened the lead the Sixers had and forced Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau to call a quick timeout. Embiid continued to attack the basket, and by 9:37 in the third quarter he already had 21 points. Minnesota struggled to score, shooting only 2-12 in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter.

Zach LaVine came to life just as the Timberwolves needed it, scoring 12 of his 28 total points in the 3rd quarter. Minnesota went on a desperately needed 17-2 run in the span of 4 minutes, the score 70-59 Philadelphia with 4:30 in the 3rd quarter.

With the momentum shifted in Minnesota’s direction, Embiid was inserted back in the game at 3:15. The game began to get chippy as the physical play ramped up. In a play where Robert Covington stripped Karl Anthony-Towns of the ball, Towns had an outburst directed at the officials which resulted in a technical foul. The Timberwolves would finish the 3rd quarter outscoring the Sixers 26-22. The Sixers were still leading 79-68.

Minnesota Rallies

In the fourth quarter the Sixers started awful from the field, shooting 0-5 and allowing the Timberwolves to chip away at the Sixers lead. About halfway through fourth quarter, the Sixers barely led 86-80.

The Sixers watched their 26 point lead evaporate as the Timberwolves continued to surge in the final minutes of play. The combination of LaVine and Towns helped to reduce the Sixers lead to just 1 point, with less than a minute left. The Sixers, in a drought for several minutes, gave themselves a small buffer in the form of a T.J. McConnell layup with 41 seconds left. After both teams failed to convert and with 25.8 seconds left Minnesota fouled to stop the clock, the score was 91-88 Philadelphia.

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Coming out of a timeout, Joel Embiid dribbled the ball down for a low post shot attempt that was blocked by Towns. Minnesota rebounded the ball and promptly called a timeout. With an unlikely play drawn up by Coach Thibodeau, Ricky Rubio, a 27 percent 3-point shooter, hit a wide open 3-point basket to tie the game at 91. The Sixers called timeout to draw up a play for their final possession of the game.

Last chance

After the timeout, the Sixers inbounded the ball with 1.6 seconds left. Decoy Joel Embiid set a nice back-screen for Robert Covington who cut to the basket. Dario Saric, inbounded the ball and threw a soft alley-oop pass towards the rim. Robert Covington elevated at the rim, caught the pass low but with a soft scoop shot, was able to lay the ball in for 2 points, with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock.

In a last chance desperate attempt to tie the game, the ball was in-bounded to Andrew Wiggins who attempted a catch and shoot, but missed the shot. Time expired on the clock, game over, the Sixers won 93-91.

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Narrowly avoiding another fourth quarter meltdown, the Sixers were glad time ran out when it did. Robert Covington finished the night with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals. Joel Embiid registered 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks.