Timberwolves come back from 19-points vs. 76ers
The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 106 Philadelphia 99
MINNEAPOLIS -- Maybe Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman is getting greedy. After his team rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit Wednesday at the Target Center for a 106-99 victory over the slumping Philadelphia 76ers, Adelman wanted more than a victory.
"We got the win," Adelman said. "But, hopefully, we also got a lesson there."
The Timberwolves, down by 19 after a horrific first quarter, pulled within 13 at the half and were within three points after three quarters. In the fourth, down five with just over 10 minutes to play, a lineup of mostly reserves led the Timberwolves (11-11) on a 10-0 run that gave them the lead for good.
Leading the way was forward Robbie Hummel and center Nikola Pekovic, who scored 10 and eight points, respectively, in the fourth quarter.
Together they helped lead the Timberwolves' biggest home comeback since Nov. 12, 2010, when they came back from 21 down to beat New York. It was Minnesota's second straight victory, its first winning streak since early November. Philadelphia (7-16) lost for the eighth time in nine games.
"It was a very tough first half," said Pekovic, who shot 8-for-26 in a first quarter that the 76ers ended on a 20-3 run to take a 39-20 lead. "We had a little talk in the locker room. And, from the first moment in the second half, we played better. The second half was a totally different picture for us."
Both Pekovic (20 points and 10 rebounds) and forward Kevin Love (26 points, 15 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Timberwolves. Guard Ricky Rubio added 21 points and seven assists.
Philadelphia was led by guard Tony Wroten's 20 points. Swingman James Anderson and forward Thaddeus Young had 16 each.
"We came out with good intensity, and were sharing the ball and everybody was playing defense and we kind of got away from that," Wroten said of the difference between the two halves. "We let one slip away from us."
But Minnesota -- which shot 38.5 percent for the game and allowed 24 fast-break points to the 76ers -- didn't take control until the late.
The 76ers led by five after guard Hollis Thompson's three-point play with 10:14 left. But then Pekovic scored on a put-back and Hummel hit an 11-footer. After a 76ers turnover, guard J.J. Barea fed Hummel for a 21-foot baseline jumper with 8:27 left to give Minnesota its first lead, 87-86.
"When you get an opportunity like that, coach is looking for a spark off the bench," Hummel said. "I'm a shooter. I bring energy. I do what I can do help the team. Tonight I made some shots."
Pekovic's 11-footer pushed the lead to three, then forward Dante Cunningham scored to complete the 10-0 run. Philadelphia got within two points once after that, but Love and Hummel wouldn't let them closer.
"I give Minnesota credit, but it's a disappointment," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "Their physical style wore us down a little bit."
As a result, despite a slow start, the Timberwolves won on the back end of a back-to-back for just the second time this season.
And, perhaps, got a lesson in the bargain.
"We have to learn," Adelman said. "We got a nice win (Tuesday in Detroit), but that means nothing the next game. If we want to build anything it has to be night after night. You have to come out and play."
NOTES: Philadelphia rookie PG Michael Carter-Williams missed his fourth consecutive game because of soreness and a skin infection on the front of his right knee. Carter spent three days in the hospital last week because of the infection. On medication, he is waiting for the infection to clear before returning to practice. In all, he missed eight games this season, as he sat out four others with a sort left foot ... Timberwolves C Ronny Turiaf, who suffered a right elbow fracture Nov. 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, is healing slower than the team hoped. Word was the injury would take four to six weeks, but he is still unable to practice, and he will be sidelined for the near future. ... Minnesota F Chase Budinger, still sidelined after offseason knee surgery, could be cleared to practice within two weeks, coach Rick Adelman said. ... In an effort to get backup SG Alexei Shved going, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman is giving him minutes with the starters, sometimes even early in the first quarter.
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