Sixers get pounded at home by Timberwolves

Posted: December 05, 2012

For the 76ers, the game plan going into Tuesday night's game with the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn't overly complicated.

In Kevin Love, the Timberwolves have an Olympian and a guy who looks like he could have about 10 more All-Star Game appearances in him. Love can single-handedly destroy a team.

Love's accomplice this season is emerging big man Nikola Pekovic. If a team can slow those two - or at least make things difficult for them - its chances of beating the injury-riddled Timberwolves improve.

The Sixers accomplished that mission, holding both below their averages, but their Timberwolves teammates rose to the occasion in a 105-88 rout of the Sixers (10-8) at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers limited Love, averaging 21.7 points and 15.3 rebounds, to six points and 10 boards. And Pekovic, who averages 14.8 points and just over seven rebounds, finished with six points and five rebounds.

Collectively, however, the 8-8 Timberwolves sizzled. The 65 points they scored in the first half were the most by any Sixers opponent in a half this season.

That enabled Minnesota to build 20- and 23-point leads in the first half. The worst three-point-shooting team in the league at 28.6 percent, the Timberwolves made 13 of 25 threes (52 percent) Tuesday night. It was their best effort from behind the arc and it tied for the season's best effort against the Sixers.

This one was over about three minutes into the second quarter, right after Minnesota rookie Alexey Shved, who had a team-high 17 points, put the Timberwolves ahead, 44-24.

"Once you let a team get started like that, it's hard to stop," Sixes coach Doug Collins said. "Thirty-four points in the first quarter and we never had any resistance the entire night."

Minnesota's bench outscored the Sixers' by 57-23. Shved, Villanova's Dante Cunningham (13 points), Jose Barea (11), and Derrick Williams (10) reached double figures in reserve roles.

Josh Howard, who considered the Sixers as a potential destination during the summer, finished with season highs in points (16) and rebounds (10).

Evan Turner paced the Sixers with 19 points. Jason Richardson added 14 and Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday both scored 13 for the Sixers.

"This team hasn't been through anything together, so I don't know who they are," Collins said. "The adversity that we've had has been injuries. But I'm talking about losing. And I worry about that.

"I worry about [this team] getting punched in the mouth a few times and how we're going to react. That's a huge concern to me."


Contact John N. Mitchell at  jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

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