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Game Preview: Timberwolves vs. 76ers

Game Preview: Timberwolves host Sixers

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

MATCHUP:

Minnesota is coming off a recent home loss to the Charlotte Hornets in large part due to another horrendous third quarter in which the Timberwolves got outscored 36-17, falling to 3-7 on the young season. The Wolves will look to rebound against a Philadelphia team that boasts one the of the league’s worst records at 2-9.

76ers young center Joel Embiid did not play in their game Wednesday against the Wizards whom they beat, due to rest, and will face-off with Karl-Anthony Towns down low in a battle of two young stars in the paint.  Embiid is currently averaging 18 points per game, while snagging 7.3 rebounds per game as he is still somewhat on a minutes restriction. Towns is averaging 22 points per game, along with 8.9 rebounds per game. This matchup should be a fun one, and could give us a glimpse into the future of the evolving young big man, with Embiid being 22 years old, and Towns turning 21 years old two days ago.  

PROJECTED STARTERS:

Timberwolves:

PG: Ricky Rubio #9

SG: Zach LaVine #8

SF: Andrew Wiggins #22

PF: Gorgui Dieng #5

C: Karl-Anthony Towns #32

76ers:

PG: Sergio Rodriguez #14

SG: Gerald Henderson #12

SF: Robert Covington #33

PF: Ersan Ilyasova #7

C: Joel Embiid #21

INJURY REPORT:

Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic – out/season (recurring ankle pain), Shabazz Muhammad – questionable (knee), Brandon Rush – questionable (toe)

76ers: Ben Simmons – out (foot),

LAST MEETING:

This is the first time these two teams match up this season, and with no preseason action against each other, there will be some newness to this game.  

Last season saw the Wolves and Sixers face each other twice, with each squad taking a win as the season series was even 1-1. In the first meet-up, the Timberwolves secured the 100-95 victory, as Andrew Wiggins exploded for 32 points and five rebounds.

The second game was taken by Philadelphia, 109-99.  Guard Ish Smith had a good game, scoring a game-high 21 points and dishing out 12 assists in the winning effort.  Shabazz Muhammad ended with a team-high 20 points for the Timberwolves.

NOTEWORTHY:

This will be the first nationally televised game between former Kansas Jayhawks teammates Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid.  They were both in the same 2014 draft class, as Wiggins went first overall, with Embiid being selected third overall.  

While the Towns/Embiid matchup down low is intriguing in its own, there is another matchup that should provide some flare.  Two spanish guards, Ricky Rubio and Sergio Rodriguez, will be matched up in the game, with both players being known to have flashy, exciting playmaking skills.  

Rodriguez is averaging 8.5 points per game, along with 7 assists per game.  Rubio is currently averaging 7.4 points per game, while dishing out 7.4 assists per game as well.  Look for the two Spaniards to provide fireworks in the assist column.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

TV: TNT – Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst), Lewis Johnson (sideline reporter)

Radio: 830 WCCO-AM – Alan Horton (play-by-play)

(Statistics from nba.com, basketball-reference.com, and numberfire.com)