The Minnesota Timberwolves played one of their worst first quarters this season. The Sixers outscored the Wolves 39-20. Philadelphia went on a 20-3 run to end the quarter and shot 77.3% overall. The Sixers came into tonight as one of the worst first quarter offenses in the NBA against one of the best (Minnesota). The result was the complete opposite.
With such a big deficit, the Timberwolves had get back into the game with steady play and realize that they wouldn't be able to cut such a big lead down in a two-minute stretch. They battled for the final 36 minutes and thanks to a huge contribution from a somewhat unlikely source--the Timberwolves had their biggest comeback since Kevin Love went for that 31-31 game vs. the Knicks.
The Timberwolves outscored the Sixers over the final three quarters (28-22, 30-20 & 28-18). This is Minnesota's first win of the year without leading heading into the fourth quarter (they were down 78-81), the first win when trailing by more than five points in a game this season, the first time this year that the Wolves have won back-to-back games and the first time Minnesota has won two-straight games overall in a month.
The unlikely contributor tonight was Robbie Hummel! Hummel had fallen out of the rotation thanks to a poor shooting stretch and the acquisition of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. These past few games he's gotten back into the rotation. It started with some garbage time vs. Miami in which he scored 8 points, he added another 8 points last night in Detroit. Tonight vs. the Sixers he scored 10 in the fourth quarter as he hit a number of key baskets. His hot shooting came early in the fourth with the starters (sans Pek) on the bench. Robbie finished the game with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal, he also shot 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep in 12 minutes. With his play he's certainly earned some more playing time and we will likely see a bit more of him assuming he can continue his hot shooting.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
The Timberwolves allowed the Sixers to shoot 52.7% from the field, 45% from deep and 85.7% from the line. If I saw those stats, I would assume that the Sixers absolutely blew out the Wolves. Minnesota made up for it by forcing Philly into 26 turnovers for 27 points and out-rebounded them by a +8.
Despite Minnesota shooting just 38.5% from the field & 35% from deep, they made up for it by shooting 15 more free throws and making 13 more.
Kevin Love had another terrific outing, despite going just 1-for-6 from deep, he still finished with 26pts, 15reb, 5ast & 2stls. Pek had his 10th double-double of the year and tied with Hummel for the highest +/- of +16. Rubio's solid offense last night in Detroit carried over to tonight.
Martin & Barea had great offensive nights yesterday in Detroit, too, but unlike Ricky it didn't carry over tonight. They both struggled mightily. Barea didn't make a field goal and Martin didn't do much better making just 1-of-9. Martin was on the bench in the fourth quarter with the game still up for grabs in favor of Hummel. K-Mart's 5 points are his lowest-scoring night of the season.
The Timberwolves will be back in action on Friday night vs. the Spurs in San Antonio. We'll have a preview up Friday morning, stay tuned for that, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!