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Game Preview #14: Wolves vs 76ers

After a win against the Knicks on Monday at Target Center, the top team in the West will host the Sixers on Wednesday night.

New York Knicks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

When the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves meet at Target Center on Wednesday night, both teams will be missing critical pieces to their rotations.

Joel Embiid will not play on the back end of a back-to-back after an overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, while Jaden McDaniels’ Grade 1 lateral ankle sprain will keep him out.

That leaves an opportunity for Nickeil Alexander-Walker to guard the scorching Maxey and for the Timberwolves to punish the interior of the Sixers’ defense.


Game Info

  • Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (10-3) vs Philadelphia 76ers (10-4)
  • When: 7:00 PM CT
  • Where: Target Center
  • TV: Bally Sports North (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Katie Storm)
  • Radio: Wolves Radio App, KFAN FM 100.3
  • Line: Timberwolves -7, Total: 220.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Injury Report

Updated as of 4:50 PM CT on Wednesday:

Minnesota

OUT:

  • Jaylen Clark (right achilles tendon rupture rehab)
  • Jordan McLaughlin (right knee MCL sprain)
  • Jaden McDaniels (right ankle sprain)

Philadelphia

OUT:

  • Joel Embiid (left hip soreness)
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. (ribs)

What To Watch For

Philadelphia 76ers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Tyrese Maxey Versus Jaden McDaniels-less Wolves

76ers guard Tyrese Maxey has had no problem filling James Harden’s role in Philadelphia’s offense, putting together an All-Star-caliber run to begin the year.

The former Kentucky Wildcat put up 30 points, four rebounds and six assists in the Sixers’ overtime loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, again acting as a catalyst of the team’s offensive in addition to Embiid’s scoring input.

Questions about Maxey’s ability to step into a lead guard role for Philadelphia lingered as the season began, but after averaging 27 points and seven assists per contest in 2023-24, those questions seemed to be answered.

Alexander-Walker will likely spent time guarding the surging guard, and hope to continue his successful start to the year. Alexander-Walker has not only defended well thus far, but orchestrated the offense and shot the ball confidently. Extra minutes for the Virginia Tech product may prove valuable for Chris Finch and Co.

Philadelphia On The Back End of a Back-to-Back, Down Joel Embiid

Embiid will not suit up for the 76ers on Wednesday night after playing extra minutes on Tuesday while also on the front end of a back-to-back. Minnesota will surely look to dominate the painted area with the reigning MVP out, and will expect big things from their front-court duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert at Target Center on Wednesday.

In-Season Tournament - Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Recent Success

Towns is averaging just under 27 points per game in his last four contests while shooting 43% from beyond the arc. After a slow start to the season, Towns has come on strong in the scoring department. The front-court pairing with Gobert has been thriving of late, with Gobert stifling opposing offenses and Towns lighting up opposing defenses. Without Joel Embiid on the court on Wednesday, Towns will have one fewer obstacle to having a big scoring night.

KAT had a very strong showing against the Knicks on Monday night, scoring 20 points, pulling down five boards, recording four assists, three steals and two blocks. He shot 6-for-10 from the field while making two of his three 3-point attempts. Despite not having Embiid, Towns’ contributions will be imperative to a win against a Sixers team that ranks third in the league in offensive rating.