Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from loss to Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers gets tangled up with Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers gets tangled up with Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves dropped their first game of the season in a blowout to the Philadelphia 76ers that saw both Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid ejected.

95. 86. 117. 93. Final

Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves lost by 42 points when they visited the Philadelphia 76ers in Jimmy Butler’s first game against his former team.

This year, the Wolves lost by 22 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid were both ejected for fighting with one another.

Talk about a one-sided, yet heated rivalry.

The Wolves led about midway through the first quarter, but from that point on it was all Sixers as they built a 19-point lead at halftime. Towns and Embiid each had 13 points and five rebounds in the first half, although it took Embiid six additional shots to get his points.

Before the third quarter was halfway gone, Embiid appeared to hook Towns after the Wolves superstar lost the ball on the offensive end of the floor. Towns pulled back on Embiid’s arm, and neither big man wanted to peacefully untangle and go their separate ways.

The moment that lead to Towns putting Embiid in a headlock has not yet been revealed clearly on camera, but the view from the other end of the floor appeared to show Embiid shoving his hand towards Towns face and Towns stepping back and putting his arms up, suggesting he was ready to throw and/or take some punches.

After the two came together, Towns put Embiid in a headlock before Ben Simmons and Jeff Teague arrived to forcefully separate the two players. Teague tackled Embiid and Simmons jumped on top of Towns and put him in a headlock from behind. (Edit: How could we forget to mention the eye gouge seen ’round the world. Perhaps this action will carry an extra game or two on a suspension.)

Ultimately, the two start big men were ejected and no other penalties were assessed.

The Wolves pulled to within 12 points early in the fourth quarter and appeared ready to make a game of things, but the Sixers quickly scored seven straight points and eventually built their lead back up over 20.

The Wolves actually played solid defense for long stretches at a time, especially early in the game. The offense was stagnant and extremely disjointed, however, and it was an issue both before and after Towns left the game.

Here’s hoping that there isn’t a suspension for Towns and that the Wolves can grab a ‘W’ in Washington on Saturday night.

Player Grades

B. This is a tough one to grade, as Towns was great early on in the game, even stripping Embiid a couple of times on his way to the basket. Towns was guarding Embiid on defense but the Sixers had Horford, plus double-teams in the post, guarding KAT. Ultimately, Towns had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds, two steals, a block, and an assist.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. B-. Wiggins took another half-step back, scoring 19 points but needing 16 shots to do it. He was just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc and pulled down five rebounds. He was mostly aggressive going to the rim early but settled for jumpers later in the game. Wiggins also pitched in two assists, one steal, and one block.. Wing

B-. Covington had a quiet performance in his first game back at Wells Fargo Center, scoring only seven points (2-7 FG, 1-4 3P, 2-2 FT) and grabbing three rebounds in 26 minutes. He did have three blocks and a steal and was his generally active self on the defensive end of the floor.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE. B+. Teague followed up a fantastic game with a decent one, putting up 15 points (6-13 FG, 2-4 3P, 1-2 FT) and dishing out five assists in 25 minutes. He also tackled Embiid, who is a much, much larger man. Teague continued to be aggressive on offense, and if this is an average performance for him over the course of the season, the Wolves will have a solid year.. Guard

Graham continues to struggle mightily from the field, shooting 1-of-5 and missing all four of his long-range attempts. He also continues to be a decent defender and an important hustle player on the glass. He pulled down four rebounds and grabbed two steals in 21 minutes. Also notable: Jake Layman started the second half in Graham’s spot in the lineup.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. C

C+. Outside of a quick, impressive flurry early in the game, Okogie had a quiet game. He did pull down six rebounds and grab three steals, but missed both of his field goal attempts and shot just 3-fo-6 from the free throw line.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

Layman had six points, three rebounds, and one steal in 24 minutes. He missed his lone 3-point attempt and was again fairly quiet. After starting the second half in Graham’s spot in the lineup, it will be interesting to see who Ryan Saunders goes with as the fifth starter on Saturday against the Wizards.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN. B

SHABAZZ NAPIER. B+. Napier was solid once again, but was probably not aggressive enough once Towns was ejected. Saunders again tried a stretch with both Napier and Teague in the game at the same time, but it didn’t work as desired. He finished with 13 points (4-9 FG, 2-6 3P, 3-3 FT), two steals, one assist, and three turnovers in 25.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

Other Players

Noah Vonleh struggled in this one, scoring just two points and grabbing two rebounds in 14 minutes. He couldn’t do much to slow down Embiid in the minutes that Towns was on the bench in the first half.

Jordan Bell saw his first non-garbage time minutes in a Wolves uniform and looked good, scoring five points on four shots and pulling down four rebounds. He did turn the ball over three times in 12 minutes and over-dribbled at times.

Jarrett Culver hit his first 3-pointer as a pro, banking one in from the right wing as the Wolves were trying to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. He was just 2-of-8 from the field, however, and only contributed an assist and a steal while grabbing zero rebounds.

dark. Next. Surprises and disappointments from Wolves' first week

Up Next

The Wolves get another two days off before they head to Washington to take on the Wizards, who are only 1-3 on the young season but gave Houston a scare on Wednesday night. The game tips off at 7 p.m. CT.