Here goes nothin': Sixers at Timberwolves preview

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off the All-Star Break, the Sixers are in Minnesota to kick off the second half of the season tonight against the T-Wolves.

After ending a disappointing first half of the season on a sour note by dropping three of their final four games, the Sixers hope to find a better groove in the second half of the season -- starting with tonight's matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Trade Deadline Eve.

Starting the second half in ninth place overall in the Eastern Division isn't exactly where the Sixers had hoped to be, but the final push to playoff contention begins tonight.

In order to do so, they have to snap a six-game losing streak on the road.

Yeah, you read that correctly.

The Sixers haven't won a road game since New Year's Day, when they beat the Lakers at the Staples Center.

The Timberwolves currently occupy the 12th place slot in the West division and, with the loss of their two-time All-Star, Kevin Love, seem to be well out of playoff contention. Love was contributing 18.3 points per game and 14.0 rebounds per game before breaking his shooting hand in Minnesota's Jan. 3 game in Denver.

A basement-dwelling team without its star player. Sounds familiar...

I digress.

Despite his team's overall record, Ricky Rubio in playoff mode for the Timberwolves, averaging 15.0 points and 10.0 assists per game over the team's last six matchups.

Luke Ridnour has paced the Timberwolves in scoring in three of the team's last four games, shooting a blazing 56.1% from the floor in that span, because obviously.

Center Nikola Pekovic recently picked up his seventh 20 point, 10 rebound double-double in 22 games, so the Sixers bigs will be tasked with figuring out how to best neutralize Pekovic's presence in the paint early on.

PHILADELPHIA PROBABLES

F - Evan Turner

F - Lavoy Allen

G - Jrue Holiday

C - Spencer Hawes

G - Nick Young

MINNESOTA PROBABLES

F - Mickaël Gelabale

F - Derrick Williams

C - Nickola Pekovic

G - Luke Ridnour

G - Ricky Rubio

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