Joel Embiid returns home against the Timberwolves
The Philadelphia 76ers returned home on Saturday after a long 6-game road trip to welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves who are looking to get back on track. They went 2-4 on the trip and they received a solid game from Tyrese Maxey. With the return of Joel Embiid and two days off, you’d think it would be a good night for the home side.
Instead, the Timberwolves came out shooting as Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards were too much to deal with from the jump. The two combined for 27 points in the first quarter as Minnesota built a large lead and weathered a furious Philadelphia rally en route to a 121-120 double-overtime victory over the Sixers. D’Angelo Russell put in some huge shots for the Wolves as Philadelphia has now lost four straight home games.
Embiid had 42 points and 14 rebounds playing over 40 minutes on his return, Maxey added 15 points and eight assists, Seth Curry added 14, Danny Green had 11 points and Tobias Harris added 17 and nine rebounds .
Here are the player ratings after another tough loss at home:
It was a weird game from Maxey. Normally self-confident, he made some bad decisions with basketball that allowed the Timberwolves to get out, run and use their athleticism. He also struggled a bit with Russell as the veteran Minnesota guard stepped into the paint and used his physique to get some easy baskets. To his credit, he was excellent in the third quarter to help the Sixers get back into this one. For a guy so young, he does a terrific job making adjustments on the fly. He did, however, have the deadly late turnover that put Minnesota in the lead.
Curry knocked down Philadelphia’s first field goal after the team started 0-for-6. He eventually managed to drop a few shots in the second half as Philadelphia started to fall back, but that wasn’t enough in this one. He struggled defensively. Minnesota’s length seemed to be too much for him to handle. Russell killed the Sixers in the extra sessions with Curry making it big to start.
Winning another start, Thybulle looked rough on the offensive end as he missed a few trebles, but at least he caught them and he didn’t hesitate on the shots either. He also did a much better job against Edwards after his quick start, but Russell locked him in hell in extra sessions. Russell’s shots in this one were impressive and some were against Thybulle.
It was a tough start for Harris on both sides of the floor. He missed a few shots that he normally reverses and he also played too far on the pick-and-roll, which gave Jarred Vanderbilt a break for Minnesota. It seemed odd that Harris didn’t get his normal shooting quota in this one. He only had three attempts at halftime and it looked like he wasn’t as aggressive as he normally is. Maybe the hip is bothering him a bit. He seemed to get stronger as the game progressed and he was also helpful on the defensive end as the game continued.
The big guy looked a little rusty, but that’s understandable given how much time he missed. The good thing is that he was constantly going into painting and making mistakes, which will help him regain his rhythm in the long run. He’s such a threat that the Timberwolves have continued to overtake his team every time he touches the ball and that opens up a lot for offense. To his credit, he looked a little better after halftime, which helped Philadelphia get back into the game. He was absolutely phenomenal in this one and deserves a lot of credit for the way he performed in his first COVID comeback game.
At this point, getting off the bench might be the best role for Green. He stepped into the game and he had an immediate impact knocking down a few trebles when the team badly needed them. He was huge in the Philadelphia rally as he knocked down triples and did a lot of little things. It was one of those veterans games that Green brings to the ground every night that helps the Sixers in the long run.
Drummond is a very, very good big backup man. The things this two-time former All-Star can do can help any basketball team in the long run. That being said, he can’t defend Karl-Anthony Towns. Drummond struggled to defend Towns when he entered the game for Embiid and Philadelphia dug a hole early because of it. To his absolute credit, he was inserted into the game at the end of the first overtime session and he intentionally tipped Maxey over to the free throw line to force the second overtime period and he did it perfectly. This clutch basket saved it from a bad mark.
The Minivan continues to be a constant player. He’s not flashy, but what he brings is his helmet every night and it’s refreshing to see him make an honest effort. His shot is also well received for the offense. It’s going to be a factor every night.
Korkmaz gave the team a spark on the attacking side, which is a good sign given their struggles lately. He hit a tough triple at the top of the key and he had a good move to the basket for a layup to give Philadelphia some life. However, he struggled defensively in this one as well, as Wolver exploited him when he was in the game.
Joe’s 6 minute run was encouraging. He didn’t look at the basket, but he did get two assists when he stepped into the paint and set up his teammates. One night the Sixers struggled at first, it was a welcome sight for them.