Sixers let big lead slip away against T'Wolves

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio , who scored 21 points, is trapped by the 76ers' Tony Wroten (left) and Thaddeus Young during the first quarter. ANN HEISENFELT / Associated Press
Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio , who scored 21 points, is trapped by the 76ers' Tony Wroten (left) and Thaddeus Young during the first quarter. ANN HEISENFELT / Associated Press
Posted: December 13, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - It had all the signs of a much-needed victory for the 76ers.

They were shooting 77.2 percent in the first quarter. They had a commanding 19-point lead late in the second. And the Minnesota Timberwolves were struggling to even make a basket.

Then Robbie Hummel took over.

The Timberwolves rookie forward sparked a 13-3 fourth-quarter run to lift the Timberwolves to a 106-99 victory Wednesday night at the Target Center.

Hummel scored five of his 10 points during the decisive run as Minnesota improved to 11-11.

The Sixers (7-16) dropped their four straight game. They have lost eight of nine.

"In a big picture, we put ourselves in a position to go win a game on the road," said Sixers coach Brett Brown, whose squad dropped to 1-9 away from the Wells Fargo Center, with nine straight losses. "It's hard to do that. I give Minnesota credit. But it's disappointing."

Hummel started to take over in the fourth quarter with his team trailing, 83-78. He scored five of Minnesota's next nine points. His last two of the decisive run gave the Timberwolves an 87-86 lead with 8 minutes, 27 seconds left. Minnesota led the rest of the way.

Hummel, who made 2 of 3 three-pointers, scored all of his points in the fourth quarter.

Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love led all scorers with 26 points to go with 15 rebounds. Center Spencer Hawes and point guard Tony Wroten led the Sixers with 20 points apiece.

"Tonight is disappointing," said Brown, whose team committed 26 turnovers. "It's a game I felt like we could have won. I feel bad for our guys. We were in a position to win. We just weren't able to pull it off."

Early on, the Sixers looked capable of posting an upset.

They closed out the first quarter with a 20-3 run to take a commanding 39-20 lead. It was the most points the Sixers scored in the first quarter this season. They shot 77.3 percent (17 for 22) over the 12-minute span.

The Timberwolves opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run as the Sixers missed their first six shots.

But the Sixers started making baskets and regained their 19-point cushion at 56-37 with 3:35 left in the half. After a Minnesota run, the Sixers took a 61-48 cushion into halftime.

The Timberwolves kept chipping away. They knotted the score at 78-78 on Ricky Rubio's basket with 1:48 left in the quarter. But Hawes responded with a three-pointer 31 seconds later to give the Sixers an 81-78 advantage.

"Hummel came in and made the right plays," Hawes said. "He hit a couple of threes when he needed to. He put it on the ground. He made a couple of plays on defense. He was a good spark for them."

As expected, Michael Carter-Williams missed his fourth consecutive game because of soreness and a skin infection on the front of his right knee. The Sixers' rookie point guard spent three days at University of Pennsylvania Hospital because of the ailment. He is listed as day-to-day. The 22-year-old is on antibiotics and is waiting for the soreness to go away before he takes the court.

"He's just with the group," Brown said of Carter-Williams' joining the team for the two-game road trip. "I treat him a lot like [injured rookie center] Nerlens [Noel, who makes the road trips].

"We've had a lot of practice on how to integrate Nerlens and still make sure [he's] a part of what we are doing."

Carter-Williams missed his eighth game this season. The rookie-of-the-year candidate missed four other games with a bruised arch in his left foot.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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