Tuesday, December 4, 2012

T'Wolves rough up Sixers

cvito@delcotimes.com, @ChrisVito

PHILADELPHIA ­— Shaking his head, with no options left, Doug Collins rose from his seat and
emptied his bench.

In the third quarter. With his team trailing by eight possessions.

Minnesota had everything going for it, and the Sixers didn’t. It was one of those nights that Collins would rather forget. The Timberwolves issued a 105-88 beatdown Tuesday of the Sixers, who have lost two in a row.

Evan Turner took 20 shots to score 19 points, Thad Young had only two rebounds and Jrue Holiday paired 13 points with nine assists for the Sixers, who were sent off the court to a cascade of boos.

This one got ugly in a hurry, and Minnesota did so without Kevin Love on the floor for a majority of it.
The Timberwolves (8-8), who had lost six of eight games, got off to a torrid start from the floor and never looked back. They had staked a 13-point lead after 12 minutes, at 34-21.

How bad did it get for the Sixers (10-8)?

In the second quarter, Lavoy Allen was whistled for a moving screen 30 feet from the basket, Turner was called for offensive goaltending on one of the rare putbacks that actually went in and the NBA’s worst 3-point-shooting team was putting on a clinic at Wells Fargo Center.

And all of that took place without Minnesota playing Love. The dominant forward, a double-double machine, spent nearly the entirety of the second quarter on the bench, watching his teammates blow open the game.

The Timberwolves went on a 10-0 run in 76 seconds, scoring at will inside the first minutes of the second quarter to make a manageable game a 44-24 rout. In that span, the Sixers were outrebounded, 6-0, and prompted Sixers coach Doug Collins to call a timeout.

By halftime, the Sixers had given up more points to the Timberwolves in two quarters (65) than they had in four quarters Nov. 7 at New Orleans (62). It was the most points surrendered by the Sixers in the opening half all year, three more than they relinquished in a Nov. 12 loss to visiting Milwaukee.

The statlines spoke for themselves: The Timberwolves’ bench outscored the Sixers at half, 32-4, and Minnesota had outshot the Sixers, 59 percent to 44.

The ugliness persisted, and even amplified, when Luke Ridnour swished a 3-point attempt with nine minutes to go in the third. That gave Minnesota its 11th trey on 18 attempts. So the NBA’s worst-shooting team from beyond the arc, entering the game hitting only 28.6 percent of their looks from long range, was converting from 3-point distance at a 61-percent clip.

The Sixers had waved the proverbial white flag by the midpoint of the third quarter, when Collins went to a lineup that featured offensively anemic Kwame Brown, third-string point guard Royal Ivey and defensive specialist Damien Wilkins in a 22-point game.

Even Arnett Moultrie, the Sixers’ rookie who Collins in pregame had hinted might have a future in the NBA’s Developmental League, made an appearance.

Visit Christopher A. Vito’s Sixers blog at delcotimes.com for more coverage.


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