Fresh off of an exciting win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers headed to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves. It was unknown whether Joel Embiid would be available after taking a nasty fall against the Lakers, but like the warrior he is, it was announced he would play just minutes before tip-off. The Timberwolves, without their top player Karl-Anthony Towns, came into this game with a 4-13 record, so the hope was this game wouldn’t be close. The Sixers had other ideas though, and decided to make the game a lot tighter then it needed to be early on, before taking control later. This is how everything went down.
The Sixers started the game shooting 0-of-7 from the field, because nothing is ever easy. Thankfully, the Timberwolves were just as bad and didn’t get out to any sort of lead. Even Joel Embiid was off to a slow start, going 0-of-5 from the field, but the team made a concerted effort to make their living at the free throw line. The team went to the line 13 times in the first quarter and hit every single shot. Even with the slow start, Embiid still finished the quarter with 11 points and 6 rebounds — simply incredible. Through a quarter, the game was tied at 25 a piece.
Some improved shooting from Philadelphia helped them gain a bit of separation heading into halftime, but Minnesota continued to stick around. Shake Milton picked up two early fouls so Tyrese Maxey took advantage of some extra minutes and gave the team a much-needed spark. The rookie shot 3-of-3 from the field for 6 points before Embiid came back in and continued to dominate.
The shot wasn’t falling for Embiid, so he forced his way to the free throw line, going 12-of-12 on his way to 21 first-half points. The 12 free throws were the most of any player in a half so far this season in the entire NBA. Ben Simmons added to the fun by showing some added aggression and getting to the rim a ton, which helped the Sixers go into halftime up 53-48.
Whatever Doc Rivers said to the team at halftime worked, because the Sixers looked like a completely different team to start the second half. After shooting below 30 percent for the first half, the team couldn’t miss in the third quarter. Seth Curry got into the action with two 3-pointers, Joel Embiid continued to dominate by shooting 6-of-7 in the quarter for 16 points, and it all added up to the team leading by a much wider margin of 14 points. To put it simply, the Sixers looked like a top Eastern Conference team in the third quarter. Everyone did their part.
Not a ton going on in the fourth quarter, which for Sixers fans is great! The team didn’t waste their lead and gave Joel Embiid some well-earned rest. Matisse Thybulle continued to play incredible defense and Tobias Harris sent Jaden McDaniels into the Shadow Realm. Very fun!
Your nightly “Tobias Harris should be an All-Star” tweet: pic.twitter.com/ETcG7RSBwq— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 30, 2021
The final score has the Sixers winning this one 118-94. Joel Embiid led all scorers with 37 points and 11 rebounds in only 27 minutes. Next up is a meeting with the Indiana Pacers on the road on Sunday evening.