PHILADELPHIA — The Timberwolves made it big again on the road against another undermanned team.
Anthony Edwards had 25 points, D’Angelo Russell had 19 and the Minnesota Timberwolves weathered a late scare to win their third straight game 112-109 against the underhanded Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
“We took a lot of bad shots, I definitely did, but we still won,” Edwards said of a 7-of-21 performance.
The 76ers have already played two weeks without James Harden due to a tendon strain in his right foot and have added starting scout Tyrese Maxey to the injury list with a left foot sustained on Friday. PJ Tucker suffered an unspecified injury against the Timberwolves and Joel Embiid injured his left ankle/foot after colliding with a teammate late in the game.
Embiid, the reigning NBA scoring champion, said long after last buzzer he was still in pain and limped off the podium after his press conference.
“Hopefully it feels somehow better, but we’ll see,” Embiid said.
Maxey and Harden averaged more than 20 points during the season, and their losses left Embiid bearing the burden in a lineup that at one point included him, Danuel House Jr., De’Anthony Melton, Shake Milton and Georges Niang.
“You don’t feel sorry for anyone, so I won’t feel sorry for us either,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We have to find a way to win. I know that sounds crazy. But we just have to. And we will find out.”
The 76s need more time.
Embiid had 32 points, nine rebounds and made 18 of 20 free throws. Milton had 27 points and Melton had 19.
Without two top scorers, the Timberwolves rushed the Sixers early and continued a winning streak with all three wins away. They won in Cleveland, Orlando and went up 8-8 to .500.
The Magic played without rookie Paolo Banchero and center Wendell Carter Jr., their two leading rebounders and two of their top three scorers. Cleveland played without injured All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen.
“We’re not in a position where we feel we can afford any disappointment,” said Timberwolves manager Chris Finch. “We’re just starting to play well ourselves.”
Embiid scared the Sixers 5:33 into the game when he tripped over fallen teammate Georges Niang and fell onto the court. Embiid rolled his left ankle and lay on his back as he was examined by a trainer.
Embiid limped onto the bench but stayed in the game. He hobbled the rest of the game and hit the court again – on a steal and then followed up with a 3 that drew the Sixers to 105-102.
Edwards buried a 3 that extended the lead to six.
However, Melton hit a 3 with 30 seconds left that put the Sixers within a second, but he missed a traffic stop on the next possession, which was their best final effort to complete a 20-point comeback.
Niang airballed a Desperation 3 at the horn.
“Sometimes the clock in your head goes faster than what you actually have,” he said
Minnesota led by 15 points in the fourth and was outplayed 19-7 in the final 8:46 of the game.
“We could persevere, take enough shots, make a few big moves to win a game like this,” Finch said. “It shouldn’t have come down to that.”
Timberwolves: Finch played at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he was an NCAA Division III All-American in 1991 and 1992. He was playing at the same time the 76ers were holding a college training camp. “Team of my youth but not anymore,” said Finch.
76ers: Tobias Harris (left hip pain) sat out.
Timberwolves: host Miami on Monday night.
76ers: Welcome back former sixer Ben Simmons when Brooklyn comes to town on Tuesday night.
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