The Wolves returned from the All-Star break with a win and swept the season series against the Philadelphia 76ers. The fully rested Wolves returned home on Wednesday night and erupted for 35 points 1st quarter points (most 1st quarter points all season) as they pulled out a 94 to 87 victory ending their 4 game home losing streak.
The Wolves won the opening tip and wasted no time as they scored their first basket within 6 seconds. The great offensive production continued as they lead 6-0, 2 minutes into the game. The Wolves hit open jump shots and moved the basketball all through the first half opening up a 19 point lead with 3 minutes to play, and a 56 – 41, 15 point lead going into half time. Nikola Pekovic looked fresh in the first half as he posted 14 points and 10 rebounds, and 27 points and 18 rebounds for the game. Derrick Williams posted 12 points and 5 rebounds in the first half and finished out with 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting for the night.
The 76ers did manage to avoid a repeat of the first meeting of these two teams, a 105 – 88 Wolves victory, and continuously fought their way back throughout the entire second half. With 2:46 left to play, the 76ers narrowed the gap down to 2 points. That was all the closer that the 76ers would get it, as the Wolves showed a great amount of poise and composure in the closing moments of the game. The Wolves only made 1 field goal in the 4th quarter, but used 16 made free throws in the final quarter to outscore the 76ers down the stretch to hold on for the victory improving to 20-31 on the season.
After the lengthy All-Star break, the Wolves welcomed back a rested Andrei Kirilenko and JJ Barea. Kirilenko returned from his 5 game absence with a 15 point performance on a 4-6 shooting. In typical AK style he also had 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 block shots and 1 steal. Ricky Rubio returned from the Rising Stars Challenge playing inspired basketball, posting 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. After such a strong performance from the Wolves bench in the first meeting, the Wolves only got 16 points in this meeting.
The Wolves will try to continue the winning ways as they travel to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on ESPN with a 7 pm tip.