Following a thrilling victory against the defending champions, the Philadelphia 76ers now must try and avoid a letdown when they visit one of the worst teams on Friday.
Tobias Harris’ 12-foot jumper with 2.4 seconds left gave the Sixers a 107-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Sixers will attempt to maintain that positive momentum when they go on the road to face the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
Joel Embiid fell hard on his back in the third quarter after a flagrant 1 foul by LeBron James but stayed in the game to post 28 points. Harris added 24 and Ben Simmons recorded his 31st career triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Embiid’s status is unclear for Friday. The Sixers are 0-4 this season when he doesn’t play.
“You look at games like tonight, I thought I didn’t play well at all and we still got the win,” Embiid said. “I felt like I could have done much more, but we’ve been playing well and we’ve got to keep that same mentality. We want to win every game, but we have to win games like we should.”
Harris struggled mightily at times last season under head coach Brett Brown. But under Doc Rivers, whom he played for in the past, Harris looks much more comfortable.
“For me, I just wanted to win,” Harris said. “I know we let them back in it. I was a little frustrated. But I wanted to just, you know, be calm, be relaxed in that moment and get my shot off and live with the result. And I was able to do that.”
The Timberwolves will hope to avoid a third straight defeat when they meet the Sixers.
Minnesota was dispatched 123-111 by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday to fall to 4-13. To be fair, the Timberwolves continue to play without Karl-Anthony Towns and Juancho Hernangomez due to health and safety protocols.
The Timberwolves are 2-11 without Towns this season.
D’Angelo Russell missed Wednesday’s loss with a bruised quad, but he could be available to face the Sixers.
No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards, however, continued to elevate his game as he finished with 25 points, including five 3-pointers. Despite the losses and depleted roster, Edwards’ play was an encouraging sign.
“I thought that he was aggressive. I thought that he picked his spots and once again he was finding things within the offense,” Minnesota head coach Ryan Saunders said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of isolation, and that’ll come more as he gets more freedom, but I liked his game tonight and the way he battled.”
All the Timberwolves can do is continue to scrap, especially on defense, as long as the roster is thin. They’ll have another stern test against the Sixers.
“It’s a matter of making shots or not, and we’re not making them,” Ricky Rubio said. “I think we played good defense (Wednesday) until the end, but it didn’t pay off with the offense. When you play good defense, you better make them pay on the other end. We took a lot of shots and the ball didn’t go in. It’s hard to win that way.”
–Field Level Media