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Game Preview #20: Wolves at 76ers

After getting throttled by Charlotte last night, the Wolves are set to take on the 76ers in Philadelphia

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

23 hours after tipping of in Charlotte, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be tipping off against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Last night’s contest did not go how the Wolves, or their fans, hoped it would. The Hornets beat the Wolves and ended their 5 game win streak. We knew a loss would eventually come, but the trouble was how they lost. The defense looked lethargic and the offense was stagnant and sloppy.

But, today brings a new opponent and a chance to start a new winning streak.

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (9-10) vs. Philadephia 76ers (10-9)
When: 5:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: 76ers -6.5


What to Watch For

The biggest thing to watch for tonight will be the battle of Joel Embiid vs. Karl-Anthony Towns. Two top 3 centers going at it would surely be a blast. The trouble, both players are questionable to play in this contest.

We will talk more about those injuries later, but if one of the big men cannot play, expect the other team to have an advantage.

For the Timberwolves, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back after a tough loss last night. Unfortunately, they are playing on a back-to-back, which typically means energy levels are down for the young Wolves squad. But, if this team is different than those of past years, they will not let the lack of rest affect their aggressiveness tonight. They will need all hands on deck, regardless of if Embiid plays or not.

The Wolves suffered a big loss the other night, as news broke that Patrick Beverley will be re-evaluated in a couple weeks with a leg injury. That is a huge blow as Beverley is continuously credited for the Wolves improved defensive approach and success. Jordan McLaughlin took many of his minutes last night, but it will be interesting to see if that continues in Philly tonight. Fans have been calling for Jaylen Nowell or Leandro Bolmaro to get the backup point guard minutes.

Malik Beasley has been catching fire over the last handful of games.

If Minnesota is in fact without Karl-Anthony Towns tonight, they will need a heavy dose of Beasley threes if they want a chance to win.

For Philadelphia, they haven’t had much success without Joel Embiid in the lineup. He has missed the last nine games and the 76ers have won just 2 of those games. Their offensive rating is just 106.7 over those games and their defensive rating is a horrendous 113.8.

During his absence, Philadelphia has leaned on Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris - who is also questionable tonight - to be their scorers. Even if Embiid does find his way to the court tonight I wouldn’t be surprised if he is limited as he works to get his conditioning back following a 20-day absence from game action.

Standings-wise, both teams find themselves tied for 8th in their respective conferences and just two games back from the 4th spot. While it is too early to say any game has huge playoff implications, I’m sure both squads would love to add another win to not fall too far behind the pack as the season rolls around to being 25% over.

Regardless of everything else, here’s to hoping Towns and Embiid both can play, so we can see the big man matchup that we deserve. The two have a colorful history together when on the court.

This fight came near the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season, which prompted 2 game suspensions for both players.

In their next matchup - which came just last season - Towns gave Embiid this nice poster for his bedroom.

All in all, the Wolves should be battling for a win tonight after last night’s monstrosity, regardless of who suits up for either team.

Injury Reports

As I mentioned before, Patrick Beverley was ruled out for a couple weeks due to a left adductor strain.

The other notable name on the injury report is Karl-Anthony Towns. He was a late addition to the report with a right index finger sprain. He is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest. In his pregame press conference, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said that he had no update on Towns’ injury and would see how he looks during pregame warmups.

McKinley Wright is also inactive due to G-League Assignment.

As for the 76ers, their injury report is as follows:

  • Joel Embiid - Questionable (Health and Safety Protocols)
  • Tobias Harris - Questionable (Hip)
  • Ben Simmons - Out (Personal Reasons)

It seems that Embiid and Harris will be game time decisions along with Towns tonight.

As Rivers said, we’ll see.

Hopefully we get to see a quality game tonight and everyone can finish recovering from their Thanksgiving hangover before the new week starts.