By: Dan Slaubaugh
The Wolves battle the 76ers at home tonight, and holy flip am I excited to watch Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns on the same floor.
"Match-ups like tonight are why professional basketball is fun again, and with any luck we’ll be looking back on tonight’s showdown between Joel Embiid and 2015-16 rookie of the year Karl-Anthony Towns the same way we look back at that Nov. 7, 1959 game between Russell’s Celtics and Wilt’s Philadelphia Warriors." - Philly.com
Here's a look at Embiid/Towns through their first seven NBA games.
Meanwhile, the 76ers (2-9) are coming off of a 109-102 win over the Washington Wizards. Embiid, their leading scorer and rebounder, did not play due to needed rest.
The Wolves last contest was more of the same - squandering another first half lead in the 3rd quarter, en route to horrible crunch-time defense in the 4th quarter resulting in a loss.
Obviously something needs to change. We'll see if it does tonight as Philly looks to snap a 20-game road losing streak vs. Minnesota.
What: Wolves - 76ers
Where: Target Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:10pm CT
Where to watch: TNT
Where to listen: WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Young nucleus': As far as young nucleus', it does't get much better than these two teams. The Wolves boast one of the NBA's best young cores and are trying to learn how to win on the fly. The Sixers are right there as well. With Simmons, Embiid, Okafor, Noel, and Saric, their frontcourt oozes with talent and potential. This could be a wonderful rivalry for years to come, and it all starts tonight on national television.
3Q woes: Completely beating a dead horse here, but where does it end? The Wolves are one of the league's best 1st half teams, but are historically in the 3rd quarter. They've been outscored in the 3rd quarter in 9 of their 10 games this season and boast (by far) the worst 3rd quarter net rating in the league. Changes that need to happen: Need more P&R, get Towns in the post rather than him just floating around the perimeter, and letting point Wiggins run the offense a bit more if things aren't completely gelling with Ricky.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor should match up occasionally. Towns was drafted No. 1 overall by Minnesota last year, with Okafor picked third by Philadelphia.
The 76ers will be playing in their second game of a back-to-back after defeating Washington last night.
Andrew Wiggins enters the game 10th in the league in scoring at 26.3 points per game. He also comes in first in three-point percentage at 54.1 percent.
Target Center sees their first legit crowd of the season...vs. Philly! Rumor has it that the Wolves gave all season ticket holders two free tickets to make the crowd look good for TNT. This is actually a pretty good idea by the organization, but at some point they'll need to realize FlashSeats isn't working and make some adjustments.
Regardless, if you live in the area, you are seriously going to want to get to Target Tonight. KAT vs. Embiid is legit can't-miss-action.
Wolves win 106-93. Towns goes off for 35 points. Rubio reaches 12 assists. Joel Embiid gets the Target Center crowd off their feet at least three times.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.