The Sixers went up to Minnesota to tackle the Timberwolves who had played a thrilling overtime game last night and won against the Golden State Warriors. This game had a bit of drama too, as the Sixers put together a 21 point lead when Tobias Harris drilled a 25 foot step back triple to make it 41-20. But the Wolves would slowly chip away for the rest of the game, eventually cutting the Sixer lead to 3.
In the end, however, Jonah Bolden would simply not allow Philadelphia to lose. The rookie from Australia would get the start because Joel Embiid was reported to have remained at home for the Sixers’ three-game road trip. That opened the door for Bolden to re-crack the team’s rotation.
Head Coach Brett Brown had lost favor with Bolden and turned recently to Boban Marjanović for reserve center duty.
Bolden had not been a regular member of the rotation since early March but exploded this evening for career highs in points and made three pointers. Bolden finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists. He connected on 5 of his 7 attempts from deep. He was a game high +22 plus-minus. He was simply marvelous.
Ben Simmons played well too. He was one assist shy of a triple double as he finished with 20 points, 9 assists, and 11 boards. Tobias Harris broke out of his slump and finished with 25 points on 20 shots.
Jimmy Butler made just 4-out-of-17 shots in perhaps an emotional revenge game for the four-time All-Star in his first game back to Minnesota, his former team. The home fans certainly let him hear a chorus of boos almost every time he touched the ball throughout the game. Butler was traded back in November of 2018 from the Wolves to the Sixers for All NBA Defensive team rep Robert Covington, Saric, and a second round pick.
There were some interesting moments for Sixer fans. Philly fans turned out to the stadium and were heard chanting for Dario Saric, the team’s former player and icon. It was fun to see Tobias Harris match up against him on some plays, as former and current Process Sixers battled head to head.
The Homie did not get much revenge, dropping just 4 points and finishing 1 of 6 from the floor. Former Sixer Jerryd Bayless wasn’t much better finishing 2-11 from the field. Andrew Wiggins was the Wolves standout as he dazzled shooting 9 of 18 for 24 points, 5 dimes, and 6 boards. Karl Anthony-Towns finished with 21 but he was a -16 on the evening.
It was on the glass and in the paint where Philly did its damage, even without their MVP candidate Embiid. They won the battle for the boards 55 to 36 and the points in the paint battle 52-40.
The Sixers will be in Dallas on Monday after improving to 49-27. They have taken a commanding lead for the 3rd seed in the East and while they will be short-handed against the Mavs, they’ll at least be better rested since Dallas plays on Sunday.
Jonah Bolden could certainly have earned himself a chance to be a regular member of the team’s playoff reserve unit with his performance today.