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76ers Fall to Pekovic, T’Wolves: Recap and Analysis

The Philadelphia 76ers (22-30) faced off against the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves (20-31) in their first game after the All-Star break.

Kirilenko scores against Lavoy Allen.

The Sixers have been without power forward Thaddeus Young who is suffering from a hamstring strain. The Timberwolves also were without their star Kevin Love who is out for the season. The Sixers have been struggling on the road, winning only 6 out of their 22 road games this year. But they looked to improve their road record by capitalizing against the struggling T-Wolves who have lost 16 out of their last 19 games. The Sixers who had the past weak off team started off rusty and dug themselves a massive hole. Their defense lacked energy and their offense was sloppy during the 1rst half. The Sixers showed resilience but could not make free throws and lost 94-87.

In the first half of the game the Sixers dug themselves in a huge hole allowing Minnesota to outscore them 56-41. The Sixers defense was slow and lacked energy. They were outrebounded and left many shooters open. The T’Wolves outrebounded the Sixers 30 to 15 in the half as Nikola Pekovic dominated the paint. Nikola had a double double in the first half alone scoring 14 and pulling down 11. The Wolves finished the half shooting 51 percent from the field and 75 percent from 3-point range even though the Wolves are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league. The Sixers were in a desperate need of a spark to light a fire in their game.

The offensive spark came from Evan Turner who decided to take the came into his own hands. He scored 14 points in the 3rd and single-handedly and got the Sixers back within single digits. He fueled his team with hustle and grit to make the game competitive. The Sixers continued their uphill battle in the fourth slowly chipping away at the lead. The Sixers got within 4 but could not make a shot when it mattered most. Minnesota made only one field goal in the last 11 minutes of the game and still pulled out the victory.

Reasons for the Sixers Loss

1. Spencer Hawes Is Clueless

Spencer Hawes looks absolutely clueless on the basketball court. He is a mediocre shooter at best, but he still shoota multiple 3 pointers a game. He frustrates every Sixers fan out of their mind bricking 95 percent of those shots. Spencer also never rolls to the basket and what the Sixers need is a post presence not another shooter. When Hawes goes to the basket he does not even go strong even though he is 7 feet tall. In this game Spencer took a 3 in a critical Sixers possession and it bricked off the rim. Spencer Hawes needs to get himself together.

2. Missed Free Throws

One of the biggest flaws in the Sixers game is their failure to get to the foul line. That was not the case against the T-Wolves, as they had little trouble getting to the charity stripe shooting 44 free throws. The problem was they missed 11 of those shots. Free throws were the difference. If the Sixers made their free throws they would have won the game simple as that.

Player of the Game: Nikola Pekovic (MIN)

The best player on the court was Minnesota’s 6-11, 290 pound beast Nikola Pekovic. He dominated the paint, made free throws, and was a scoring machine. Finishing the game with 27 points and 18 rebounds. He pulled down 7 offensive boards and the Sixers big men could not match his physicality.

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Categories: 76ers, Beat Writing

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