Timberwolves 106, 76ers 101
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Timberwolves want to end their trend of falling behind early, even though it has not hurt them lately.
Kevin Garnett had 32 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to help rally the Timberwolves from an 18-point deficit for their biggest comeback of the season, a 106-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday.
Minnesota, which has won eight times when trailing by 10 points or more this season, is 6-1 over the last three weeks when trailing after three quarters.
“It’s not OK,” Garnett said.
The Wolves, who won their 12th straight at home, are 24-5 since the beginning of December.
“You’re not always going to be able to climb out of a hole when you do that,” said Latrell Sprewell, who had 21 points. “We have to understand teams are going to come ready to play us.”
“That’s embarrassing,” said Iverson, who has 59 points in two games since a two-game absence with a sprained finger. “To have an 18-point lead, to have them down the way we did, as professionals, we’ve got to take care of that.”
Garnett scored eight points and Sam Cassell added nine of his 29 to account for all of Minnesota’s scoring in the last five minutes.
The Timberwolves, who shot 22-for-22 from the line, were down 15 to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday before rallying to win by 13.
“We find a way to win, man,” Cassell said. “That’s the key. To beat us, you’ve got to beat us for 48 minutes. Not 24 or 36.”
Robinson realized that.
“We felt we had the game won,” he said. “It shows what we can do if we play right.”
Minnesota trailed for three quarters, but the lead changed 17 times in the final period. The Sixers missed three free throws in the final 3:03.
Eric Snow missed an open baseline jumper with Philadelphia trailing 100-99, and Cassell—10-for-10 from the line—made two free throws to push the lead to three.
“That’s why they call them free throws,” Cassell said. “We’ve got to make them down the stretch to win games.”
Iverson’s layup with 11.6 seconds left cut the lead to 102-101. Cassell added two free throws and Iverson’s long 3-point attempt to tie came up well short.
The Wolves expected a gritty game with an early tipoff to skirt the Super Bowl and an Eastern Conference opponent in town after a three-game road trip, but that wasn’t the case.
Every Sixers starter scored in double figures, and they built a 63-52 halftime lead—three points short of their season low of 66 for an entire game.
Iverson—who made six of his first eight shots—and Robinson led a 21-8 run to close the first quarter that put the Sixers ahead 36-23. Their season average in the opening period is less than 22 points.
Minnesota came to life when the sluggish crowd of 16,987 finally did, closing within 11 at halftime on a fadeaway from just inside the arc by Garnett.
Philadelphia shot 5-for-21 in the third, and Garnett was 6-for-7. Iverson, who finished 8-for-21 from the floor, faced heavy defensive pressure from Sprewell and Trenton Hassell and started to force shots as his frustration increased.
“That’s a victory for me if I just keep him out of the lane,” Hassellsaid. “When he penetrates, he creates a lot of havoc.”
The Sixers, 9-16 on the road this season, have lost five of seven at Minnesota. … As part of a continuing celebration of the franchise’s 15th season, the Timberwolves honored former center Randy Breuer during a timeout. The 7-footer from Lake City starred at the University of Minnesota and playedthree seasons with the Wolves.