CAMDEN, N.J. — For all the games that have come and gone, Joel Embiid has kept the Sixers’ nationally televised blowout loss to the Timberwolves on his mind since mid-November. He is geared up for their rematch at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.
“I think it’s payback time,” Embiid said after practice Monday. “Since that game ended last time, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Tomorrow I’m excited to go up against them again.”
The Timberwolves easily beat the Sixers, 110-86, in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins (35 points, 10 rebounds), Karl-Anthony Towns (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Gorgui Dieng (12 points, 10 rebounds) all recorded double-doubles.
Meanwhile, the Sixers shot 37.3 percent from the field and the starters combined for just 28 points (10 points and 10 rebounds for Embiid). They scored a mere 33 points in the first half.
“It’s one of those games since it ended, personally you just can’t wait to play them again,” Brett Brown said. “That was zero reflection of who we are. … We didn’t have the juice that I think we all wanted, and for us it’s a very forgettable game."
Embiid was bothered by the negative reaction he read on social media after the game. He is making adjustments to to have a better performance, including passing out of the double teams he expects to see during the game.
“I felt like they punked us,” Embiid said. “They were just more physical than us. They got what they wanted and tomorrow we’ve got to do a better job of guarding their stuff and being aggressive on the offensive side.”
The Timberwolves (11-23) are 7-16 since their Nov. 17 win over the Sixers. Still, Wiggins, Towns and Zach LaVine are averaging 20-plus points, while Towns ranks eighth in the NBA with 11.5 rebounds per game. They are entering Tuesday 2-2 in their last four games, including a 17-point win over the Bucks and 14-point victory against the Hawks.
The Sixers are heading into Tuesday off a road win against the Nuggets last Friday. They are looking to carry that momentum to their homecourt.
“We look forward just to competing,” Brown said. “I felt like we were out-physicalled, out-athletic-ed in all ways. We got jumped, and I feel like that’s just not us. We want to get back to playing the type of basketball I think we’ve been playing lately.”