It was mastery on both sides of the ball for the Sixers, as they crushed the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 117-94 on Tuesday.
The win improved the Sixers to 43-22. They are now just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference Standings and 4 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for 1st.
Joel Embiid led all scorers (per usual) with 39 points in just 28 minutes of play and was undeniably the best defensive player on the floor as well. Tyrese Maxey posted his sixth consecutive 20+ point game, finishing with 27 and 5 assists. Anthony Edwards was about the only bright spot for Minnesota in this one as he dropped 32 points and shot 50% from beyond the arc.
The Sixers were without James Harden for this one. He sat out with left foot soreness (aka load management). Jaylen Nowell (left knee) and Karl Anthony-Towns (right calf) both were out for the T-Wolves. This was the 46th consecutive game missed by KAT.
In a season full of great games, this was probably one of the best for Joel. He finished with 39 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and went 4/4 from deep in just 28 minutes while going up against one of the best defenders in the NBA in Rudy Gobert.
Embiid got pretty much whatever he wanted all night on the offensive end. Whether it was elbow jumpers, layups, or threes, Embiid was able to convert no matter what Minnesota threw at him.
Joel hit a difficult step-back triple in the face of Gobert with the shot clock running down on the Sixers’ final possession of the first half for one of his 4 threes on the night. The 4 threes tied his season-high.
This was not the only highlight reel play of the night for Embiid, however. As part of a 22-point 3rd quarter, the Big Fella drilled a tough jumper over the outstretched arms of both Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson, then followed that up with some fancy footwork, as he spun past Naz Reid and hit an and-one lefty scoop layup later in the quarter. Embiid would convert on the free throw to push the Sixers’ lead to 80-60.
This was Joel Embiid’s 150th 30+ point game of his career, which is good for 3rd all-time in 76ers franchise history.
Joel was just as good on the defensive end as well. Most notably when he emphatically swatted away 2 Timberwolves shot attempts down the stretch of the 2nd quarter on back-to-back possessions, which then led to him assisting on a De’Anthony Melton three-ball.
Maxey Continues Torrid Stretch
Since being reinserted into the starting lineup, Tyrese Maxey has been nothing short of excellent.
Over his previous 5 games, Maxey was averaging 25.8 ppg on 58.2% shooting, including 57.6% from deep.
Maxey kept right with those averages on Tuesday by scoring 27 points on 9/16 shooting and 4/7 from three-point range.
Maxey has been noticeably more aggressive recently. His first-step quickness, and just overall explosiveness, were on display in Minnesota. He took Naz Reid off the dribble and blew by him for an and-one layup with 6:36 remaining in the 2nd quarter, which jumpstarted a 20-5 Sixers run to close out the 1st half.
Maxey then swished home a couple of James Harden-esque step-back triples in the fourth.
If there was one negative in Tyrese’s game tonight, it was the fact that he dropped 10 points in the final quarter as the Sixers put the game out of reach, and thus forced Joel Embiid to remain on the bench, barring him from achieving his 12th 40-point game of the season.
Defense Bounces Back
Just 24 hours after allowing a season-high 143 points to the Indiana Pacers, the Sixers’ defense got back in the swing of things and held the Timberwolves to just 94.
While the Timberwolves are certainly not the best offensive team (22nd in offensive rating), holding any team to under 100 points in today’s NBA is impressive.
Aside from Anthony Edwards, no T-Wolves player scored more than 13 points in this one.
The Sixers held Minnesota to a putrid 39.5% shooting from the field, and just 30.6% from beyond the arc. This was the 8th time this season the Sixers held a team to under 40% shooting. The 8 times are tied for 5th in the league. It should come as no surprise that Philly is 8-0 in such games.
The Sixers now have a well-deserved multiple-day break until their next game. They will return home to take on former Sixer, Matisse Thybulle, and the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday at 7:00p.