After having their six-game winning streak snapped by the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers retake the floor this evening looking to start a new streak at home against Minnesota. Going 6-1 against the bottom half of the Eastern Conference was a solid showing for the Sixers over the past couple weeks, but now we’ll see how they fare with tougher opponents on tap, starting with the Wolves.
Minnesota is currently leading the Western Conference with a 20-5 record. The Wolves are 9-1 in their last 10 games, most recently overcoming a 17-point deficit in Miami to come back for a 112-108 win. If a team can conquer the South Beach flu, you know they’re legitimate. Anthony Edwards is 17th in the league in scoring at 24.6 points per game, while the twin towers lineup of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns has fared much better after a year to iron out the kinks.
These two teams met in Minnesota almost a month ago, a 112-99 win for the Wolves. Edwards led his squad in scoring in that game with 31 points, to go along with six rebounds and six assists. Joel Embiid was unavailable for the Sixers in that contest, who started Marcus Morris Sr. in his stead.
Speaking of player absences, after a brief period of clean injury report nirvana, the Sixers are back to a more normal state of injury and ailments. Nic Batum is out with a sore hamstring, while we’re awaiting word on Morris and Robert Covington, who both did not practice yesterday due to illness. The Sixers’ roster depth this season has meant credible rotation players have been seeing some DNP-CD’s, so they’re equipped well enough to hold the fort down, but Batum in particular will be hard to replace. He has proven to be an elite glue guy for Philadelphia since coming over from the Clippers. Jaden Springer is back around after traveling the Lorenzo Brown Memorial Expressway from Delaware and could see some time.
Meanwhile, Minnesota aren’t expected to be missing any of their regular rotation guys:
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tomorrow’s game at Philadelphia:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 19, 2023
Clark - Right Achilles Tendon Rupture Rehab
Miller - G League Assignment
Minott - G League Assignment
Nix - Two-Way
Not that the upcoming schedule is exactly a murderer’s row, but three of the Sixers’ next four games come against Minnesota, Miami, and Orlando (crushing it at 16-9 in case you weren’t paying attention). The Sixers used their recent stretch to climb back near the top of the Eastern Conference, just a few games back of Boston with Milwaukee in-between. A win tonight against the Wolves would show the club is worthy of being in the same conversation as the upper tier of the league. We’ll see if they’re up to the challenge or if the good vibes of playing no serious fourth quarters for a week straight were merely a bad opponent mirage.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: The Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA TV
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic