Wolves rally from 19 down to beat 76ers 106-99

Down 19 at home to the struggling Philadelphia 76ers, the

Minnesota Timberwolves’ season had reached a bit of crossroads as

the second quarter opened.

With a brutal trip awaiting, the Wolves simply couldn’t afford

to drop this one. So they rolled up their sleeves and started

chipping away, and the young Sixers let them right back in it.

Kevin Love had 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists and the

Timberwolves got solid contributions from their beleaguered bench

to beat the 76ers 106-99 on Wednesday night.

”It took us a long time to get into it,” coach Rick Adelman

said. ”But then into the second quarter, into the second half, we

just kind of gradually got a rhythm going and took control and they

stopped.”

Ricky Rubio had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds,

Nikola Pekovic added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Robbie Hummel

hit a couple of big shots for the Wolves in the fourth quarter.

”It showed the second unit can step up and can score,” said

Love, who racked up his fifth game this season with at least 25

points, 15 boards and five assists. No other player has done it

once. ”So I guess this was a character builder for us.”

Spencer Hawes had 20 points and six rebounds for the Sixers, who

led 39-20 after a tremendous first quarter and had a 13-point

advantage at halftime. But they turned the ball over 26 times and

shot 14 free throws to Minnesota’s 29.

Hummel scored all 10 of his points in the fourth, including a

3-pointer that started the deciding 13-3 run. The Wolves grabbed 17

offensive rebounds to offset 38.5 percent shooting.

”We just had stats that were too insurmountable,” Sixers coach

Brett Brown said. ”It’s hard to make those types of deficits up on

the road against a good team.”

The Wolves still trailed 86-81 with less than 9:30 to go before

Hummel buried a 3 to get them started. Pekovic scored six points

during the run, including a soft baseline jumper from the burly

Montenegrin that put them in front 89-86.

Tony Wroten had 20 points in yet another start for Sixers star

rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who missed his fourth straight game

with a sore right knee. James Anderson added 16 points and eight

rebounds.

The Sixers were surprisingly competitive early in the season,

winning their first three games and beating the Miami Heat in the

opener. But the pains of rebuilding have gradually started to set

in, and they slumped into Target Center having lost 11 of their

previous 13 games and eight in a row on the road.

Perhaps taking the game for granted, the Wolves put together a

lifeless performance in the first half, and the young Sixers

pounced. They shot a staggering 77 percent in the first quarter,

closing it on a 20-3 run. They scored 15 fast-break points and held

Minnesota to 30 percent shooting to build the cushion.

Turner and Young attacked the rim for easy layup after easy

layup and Hawes hit two 3s to spread the floor, catching the Wolves

totally flat-footed.

Kevin Martin missed his first eight shots and the Wolves still

trailed by 13 at halftime in a game they absolutely needed. The

Wolves leave Thursday for a tough trip to San Antonio, Memphis and

Boston and also play Portland and at the Clippers and Lakers before

Christmas.

”When you have a team down 20 that’s coming off a back-to-back

and you have the opportunity to put a stamp on it, you’ve got to

take advantage of it,” Hawes said. ”Credit to them. They fought

their way back.”

They finally showed some signs of life to start the third

quarter, opening with a 13-2 run and tying the game on a 3-pointer

from Rubio late in the quarter.

Rubio also had three steals. The Wolves scored 27 points off

those Philly turnovers to hold off the Sixers.

NOTES: Wolves coach Rick Adelman said before the game that F

Ronny Turiaf’s fractured right elbow isn’t healing as quickly as

the team had hoped. He said Turiaf is still ”a ways away” from

playing, though there is no specific timetable. … Sixers PG

Lorenzo Brown, a second-round pick of the Wolves who did not make

the team out of training camp, played well with four points and six

assists.