Tim's Game Preview: Game 32, Philadelphia 76ers

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Despite taking major strides this season, the 76ers are still not in the same class as the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls.

Minnesota Timberwolves (15-16) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (20-11) at Target Center

Tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet another chance to get back to a .500 record. So far this season, the Wolves have played better on the road (7-6) than at home (8-10). The Sixers have won three straight meetings against the Wolves, during which Andre Iguodala is averaging 20.3 points, 8.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds.

In the Sixers last game against the Dallas Mavericks, they only scored 75 points on 33% shooting, with Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and Andre Iguodala shooting a combined 2-of-21 from the floor.

The Wolves defeated the Rockets at Toyota Center thanks to two 30/10 performances - which had never happened before in team history - from Nikola Pekovic (30/12) and Kevin Love (33/17). Love had his seventh straight double-double and has a league-leading 27 this season.

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If Nikola Pekovic played in New York, ESPN would have already written an offensive headline about him.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. Lavoy Allen
PF: Kevin Love vs. Elton Brand
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Andre Iguodala
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Jodie Meeks
PG: Ricky Rubio vs.Jrue Holiday

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If Elton Brand had stayed with the Los Angeles Clippers - instead of betraying Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy - perhaps the Clippers don't draft Blake Griffin and 'Lob City' is never formed. The NBA Butterfly Effect is awfully strange.

Last 5 Games

Philadelphia 76ers: (1st in Atlantic; 3rd in East)

Fri, Feb 10: Loss vs. LA Clippers 77-78
Sat, Feb 11: Win at Cleveland 99-84
Mon, Feb 13: Win at Charlotte 98-89
Wed, Feb 15: Loss at Orlando 87-103
Fri, Feb 17: Loss vs. Dallas 75-82

Minnesota Timberwolves: (5th in Northwest, 8 1/2 gms behind OKC; 11th in West, 2 gms behind 8th)

Fri, Feb 10: Loss vs. Dallas 97-104
Sat, Feb 11: Loss vs. New York 98-100
Mon, Feb 13: Loss at Orlando 89-102
Wed, Feb 15: Win vs. Charlotte 102-90
Fri, Feb 17: Win at Houston 111-98

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Fans are eager with anticipation about finally seeing Malcolm Lee play his first minutes for the Timberwolves.

Injuries

Philadelphia 76ers:

Spencer Hawes - Out indefinitely with a strained left achilles

Minnesota Timberwolves:

J.J. Barea - Probable for tonight's game after dealing with personal issues
Malcolm Lee - Questionable for tonight's game in his return from left knee surgery

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Jodie Meeks, drafted with the 41st overall pick in 2009, has started all 31 games for the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference. Evan Turner, drafted with the 2nd overall pick in 2010, has yet to start a game this season.

Noteworthy Stats:

  • The Sixers' two leading scorers per-36 minutes, Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young, have not started a single game this season
  • Philadelphia is the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the league at 9.7 per game (Boston is 30th with 8.7 per game). Minnesota is tied for 8th at 12.1
  • Last season, the Wolves shot the 5th highest percentage from three-point range at .376. This season, they are 21st at .324. They are averaging 0.6 more three-point attempts per game this season
  • Only four players in NBA history have, during their first three seasons, averaged 12 or more points and 7 or more rebounds per game while shooting over .600 from the floor in a single season:
    - Andrew Bynum, '07/'08, 13.1 pts, 10.2 rebs, .695
    - Dwight Howard, '06/'07, 17.6 pts, 12.3 rebs, .603
    - Cedric Maxwell, '79/'80, 16.9 pts, 8.8 rebs, .609
    - Nikola Pekovic, '11/'12, 12.4 pts, 7.0 rebs, .617

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The worst part of Doug Collins leaving TNT to coach the Philadelphia 76ers is more air time for Reggie Miller.

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