Sixers fall in heartbreaking 2OT loss to Timberwolves
The Sixers missed out on Joel Embiid’s long-awaited return as they fell to the Timberwolves 121-120 in a double-overtime thriller.
The Sixers had been at full power for over three weeks and that wasn’t quite the case tonight as Shake Milton was sent off shortly before the warning due to a groin injury. . It was clear that there was a lack of chemistry within the squad after the interval time as they got off to a sloppy start.
The Timberwolves took advantage of the Sixers’ slow start and led by 15 points after the first quarter. The Sixers scored 0 points in the paint in the first frame and failed to assert themselves on the attacking side. Things continued to look slow in the second quarter and the TWolves entered the half with a 56-41 lead. The Sixers only shot 3-11 from beyond the arc and Tobias Harris scored just 2 points in 16 minutes of play.
Things started to change in the third quarter as the Sixers slipped back into the game. By competing on both ends of the field, the Sixers took it back to a single-digit lead. In total, they beat the TWolves 29-16 in third and the Wells Fargo Center came to life. The Sixers carried that effort into the fourth quarter and the game turned into a brutal fight down the stretch.
In the end, the game was too close to be decided in 48 minutes and a three-point attempt by Anthony Edwards could not give the TWolves the victory. The first overtime period was also played on the wire as the Sixers were down 3 with 5.6 minutes remaining. Tyrese Maxey suffered a foul while attempting to retrieve the ball from the ground and was sent to the free throw line. With just 2.1 seconds to go, the Sixers put Andre Drummond in the game in an attempt to intentionally miss a free throw.
Drummond was able to answer prayer and push the game into a second overtime period. Joel Embiid put on an MVP performance and scored 13 of the Sixers’ 20 points in overtime. Although he remained in control for most of the second overtime, Tyrese Maxey had an unusual turnout with 10.9 seconds remaining which opened the door for the Timberwolves. Taurean Prince took the ball from the field and gave the TWolves a lead of 1 with just 4.8 seconds left. Joel Embiid couldn’t quite see the passage of time, and the Sixers ultimately fell 121-120 to 10-10 on the year.
While the final possession left a bitter taste, Joel Embiid was excellent in the game against the Timberwolves. In his first comeback since his three week absence from Covid, the big man played 45 crucial minutes for the Sixers. Embiid scored 42 points and 14 rebounds, a game-high, and answered the call for a major bucket several times down the home stretch. The Sixers wouldn’t have had any reason to be in the game without his impressive play.
Embiid also attacked the basket at a much higher pace, which is a very positive sign of how his knee felt. His physical play forced Karl Anthony-Towns to foul late in the fourth quarter and led to 21 free throw attempts. Considering the Timberwolves have only attempted 16 as a team, those free points had a huge impact throughout the game.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Sixers as they had several chances of securing a victory. One of the positive characteristics of this Sixers team so far this year has been their resilience and ability to fight in games. It almost resulted in a win tonight, but the end product couldn’t be secured. The recent series of games have been incredibly grueling, but the window where moral victories are acceptable must be closed.
Now sitting 10-10 on the year, the Sixers must start to count a few wins. The Timberwolves played a solid game overall, but it was a disappointing result from the Sixers’ perspective. The Sixers won’t have time to rest for long as they’ll be back in action against the Magic on Monday.
Photo by Kyle Ross / Icon Sportswire