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Hospital Sixers give T-Wolves scare but come up short

Joel Embiid and what was left of the Sixers nearly erased a 20-point lead, but came up just short Saturday night in a loss to the Timberwolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The #HospitalSixers fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 112-109, on Saturday night. After being without James Harden for the past couple of weeks, the Sixers learned that they will be without Tyrese Maxey for the next three-to-four weeks due to a broken bone in his left foot. Tobias Harris also missed his second straight game with a sore left hip.

The Sixers once again fought hard, cutting a 20-point Timberwolves lead all the way down to one, but 32 points from Joel Embiid and 27 from Shake Milton just weren’t enough.

Here are some instant observations from the loss.

First Quarter

  • It’s not surprising that the Sixers struggled early on the offensive end of the floor. Shake Milton and De’Anthony Melton are the only healthy players resembling point guards right now, and it showed any time either guy went to the bench.
  • It wasn’t a stellar quarter offensively for anyone, save for Anthony Edwards. The former No. 1 overall pick shot 4 of 7 for 11 points in the opening frame, allowing the Timberwolves to take a 10-point lead. Philly didn’t have the luxury of shadowing Matisse Thybulle on Edwards all night, as the team is being cautious with a sore ankle Thybulle is dealing with.

Second Quarter

  • The Sixers were able to hang in the quarter early because of some tough shot making. Georges Niang had an and-one on consecutive dribble drives — yes, you read that correctly. Shake Milton also made more three-pointers in this half (three) than he had all season (two) for 13 first-half points.
  • The lack of ballhandling really started to catch up with Philly halfway through the second. Minnesota took 15 more field goals than the Sixers in the half, a big reason being that they turned the ball over six fewer times than the Sixers. The Wolves made good use of their extra looks, shooting 52 percent from the field and taking a 12-point lead into halftime.

Third Quarter

  • In case the Sixers did not have enough injuries to deal with, P.J. Tucker appeared to be dealing with an injury. Georges Niang took his place with the starters to begin the half, while Tucker spent most of the third on the stationary bike behind the bench. Despite that, Tucker would check back in at the 3:39 and play most of the rest of the game.
  • Things continued to get tougher for the Sixers on the court as well. The Timberwolves’ hot shooting continued, with D’Angelo Russell getting hot for 10 of his 19 points coming in the third. Minnesota scored at least 30 points in the first three quarters tonight.
  • I don't know what else to say about this, other than Paul Reed, LMFAO

Fourth Quarter

  • The Sixers had every reason to go down without much of a fight. They’re down 60 percent of their starting lineup, Minnesota was shooting the ball very well, but the Sixers hung in there. Amazingly, they came all the way back from a once 20-point deficit, cutting it to as little as one. De’Anthony Melton, who was brilliant with 14 second half points, wasn’t able to finish the fast break layup which would have put the Sixers ahead by one.
  • Joel Embiid did his damage from the free throw line in this one. He was just 6-15 from the field but went to the free throw line 20 times. He did appear to roll his ankle falling over Georges Niang and while he stayed in the game, it appeared to cause him significant discomfort. Even after the injury, it looked like Embiid was going to superman his way to another Sixer victory, but they came up just short.
  • Was not a fan of the last play the Sixers ran. They were very limited in personnel, but Niang basically just ran into the corner and heaved up a prayer.
  • The Sixers’ five-game homestand will wrap up Tuesday night when they welcome Ben Simmons and Brooklyn Nets to town at 7:30 on TNT.

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