Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers defends against Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers defends against Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves fought hard but came up short in a Saturday night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

122. 93. Final. 113. 86

The Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday. Only 24 hours later, they were in Philadelphia to take on the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team, sans Malik Beasley and Ricky Rubio.

It wouldn’t have been a shock to see the Wolves be defeated with ease by the Sixers, who were getting Joel Embiid back after a three-week absence. Instead, the Wolves competed and were within four points with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Karl-Anthony Towns was fantastic, dropping 17 points and eight rebounds just in the first half, besting his counterpart in every facet, throwing down a poster-worthy dunk over Embiid for good measure.

But for the second consecutive night, the Wolves defense struggled to keep the opposition from lighting the nets on fire from deep. After the Grizzlies flirted with 50 percent from 3-point range on Friday, the Sixers drained 42.9 percent of their attempts on Saturday.

After a brief lead vanished early in the second quarter, the Sixers quickly wrested control of the game, taking a 10-point lead late in the frame. This was the 11th consecutive game in which the Wolves trailed by double-digits.

The 76ers eventually expanded their lead to as many as 19 points late in the third quarter. But the Wolves used a push initiated by Towns and Anthony Edwards early in the fourth, and Minnesota hung within six to 10 points for much of the final quarter.

After getting to within four with two minutes to play, Jaden McDaniels was beaten off the dribble by Tobias Harris for a straight-line drive and dunk, and the Wolves never got closer than six points from that point forward.

Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades vs. Philadelphia 76ers

A. For the second consecutive night, Karl-Anthony Towns was the best player on the floor among both rosters. And for the second consecutive night, the Wolves lost. Towns had 39 points (11-29 FG, 4-12 3P, 13-14 FT), 14 rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. He battled, fighting through plenty of contact and borderline unnecessary fouls by Joel Embiid to keep his team in the game. It was almost certainly Towns’ best all-around game of the season, and one of his better games against a truly tough matchup in recent memory.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY EDWARDS. B-. Anthony Edwards was solid offensively and was the Wolves player besides Towns who scored more than 14 points. He shot 10-of-23 from the field en route to 27 points and made a couple of tough shots in the fourth quarter that helped the Wolves hang around. However, he only had one rebound, one assist, and one steal while committing four turnovers on the night.. Wing

B+. A night after only playing 21 minutes in Memphis due to foul trouble, Jaden McDaniels was much more effective in this one. The rookie finished with 14 points (4-10 FG, 2-6 3P, 4-4 FT) and eight rebounds in 35 minutes as head coach Chris Finch relied heavily on his starting lineup. He also pitched in two blocks, a steal, and an assist. While he was beaten on one of the biggest baskets of the night in the final two minutes, he was generally solid defensively and was probably the Wolves’ second-best all-around player in this one.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JADEN MCDANIELS

Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JORDAN MCLAUGHLIN. B. Jordan McLaughlin started his second straight game as Ricky Rubio was out once again due to back spasms. He played much better in this one, putting up 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and dishing out nine assists to only two turnovers. McLaughlin also had six rebounds and three steals and did what he could defensively against the Sixers’ large, talented backcourt.

B-. Towns played a whopping 44 minutes in this one, but Naz Reid still played 18 minutes, two-thirds of them at the power forward spot alongside Towns. He scored five points and grabbed three rebounds but also committed five fouls in his limited playing time. Reid was far from the only Timberwolves player who had foul issues in this one — Towns actually fouled out in the final seconds of the game — but he definitely played into the Sixers attempting 37 free throws on the night.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID

JOSH OKOGIE. C. With Malik Beasley out due to injury, Josh Okogie slid into the starting lineup in his second game back. He only attempted one shot in 25 minutes and finished with three points, two rebounds, and a block. Okogie even struggled a bit defensively, especially down the stretch. And, of course, if Okogie isn’t defending, it’s hard to justify his minutes.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves

With Jaylen Nowell going out with an ankle injury early in the game, Jake Layman became the primary wing option off the bench. He had six points on 3-of-5 shooting and was typically active as a cutter, but missed a wide-open 3-point attempt as the Wolves were attempting their comeback and was generally quiet.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN. C+

Other Notable Minnesota Timberwolves Players

Nobody else played significant time for the Wolves. Jarrett Culver struggled in his nine minutes, somehow managing to finish with a team-worst -14 plus-minus.

Jaylen Nowell scored four points in his five minutes before leaving with an ugly ankle injury. Juancho Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt each played only two minutes in the game and didn’t record a single statistic.

How defenses slow down Anthony Edwards. dark. Next

Next up for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves have Sunday off before returning home to host the Sacramento Kings on Monday at Target Center.