clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wolves 133, 76ers 102: Beaten and Battered by a Better Team

Minnesota falls to the 76ers in the debut of James Harden

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

In the game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Minnesota Timberwolves were not able to pull off a win.

The cards were severely stacked against them as they just played last night and Philadelphia hasn’t played since prior to the All-Star break. On top of that, Philly just added James Harden at the trade deadline and the former MVP made his debut at Target Center. And the icing on the cake? Ed Malloy was manning the officiating crew.

The refs were calling a rough game for the entire first half. Bad call after bad call was made. It started heavily in the Sixers’ favor, but over time got somewhat even.

The Timberwolves saw some light in the second quarter, getting the Sixer lead down to just 3 with 2:50 left in the half. From that point on, the 76ers went on a 14-1 run to close the half. The game was all but over before the final 24 minutes were even started.

Down the stretch, the Wolves tried to put together some runs, including a quick 10-0 spurt from Anthony Edwards to close the 3rd quarter, but Philadelphia always had an answer. I guess that is what you should expect from a team with two top 15 players in the league.

This loss, no matter how bad you or fair you think the refereeing was, cannot be put on the officials. The Timberwolves did themselves no favors in this one. They put up brick after brick, nearly enough to build the Williams Arena.

When the starters were pulled from the game with 4:25 left in the final frame, the Wolves had only connected on 9 of their 37 three-point attempts compared to the 76ers knocking down 16 of their 35.

No one on the Wolves had a particularly fantastic night. Edwards had his “boomlet” (h/t Dane Moore), but he still only ended with 15 points.

Towns added 25 hard earned points, but they weren’t impactful enough. D’Angelo Russell had a good first half, scoring 17, but he only scored 4 in the second half and ended the night with 21.

On the other side, Philly had their two best players come to play. MVP candidate Joel Embiid ended with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. In his debut, James Harden scored 27 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 12 assists.

The final score is pretty representative of how bad Minnesota played in this one. Good for them, they likely were never winning this game anyway. However, the poor play is hugely disappointing for a team that was fresh off a fantastic win against the Grizzlies just 24 hours prior. Chris Finch, in his postgame interview, said that the team was looking for shortcuts on offense. He was clearly frustrated, more so than I’ve seen before.

The good news: the Wolves will have two days off before they play against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday, but then will need to travel back to Minnesota to play the Warriors on Tuesday for their second of three back-to-backs coming out of the All-Star break. Luckily, after Tuesday’s game against Golden State, Minnesota’s schedule does lighten up a bit.

The Wolves currently sit with a record of 32-29, still holding on to the 7th seed in the Western Conference. Now is the time to start winning games if they want to push for the 5th or 6th seed, otherwise it looks like it will be a trip to the Play-In Tournament for Minnesota.

Game Highlights