MINNEAPOLIS — The Philadelphia 76ers avoided a dubious place in the NBA record books on Wednesday, as they snapped a 17-game losing streak with their first victory of the season in an 85-77 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Philadelphia entered the night one loss away from tying the 2009-10 Nets for the worst start to a season in NBA history, but a game-high 20 points from Michael Carter-Williams helped the 76ers preserve their first win.
Seconds after 3-pointer from guard Mo Williams put Minnesota up by two points with less than three minutes remaining, the 76ers’ K.J. McDaniels answered with a 3-pointer of his own, followed by a driving lay-up by Carter-Williams with 1:34 left that put Philadelphia in front for good.
Philadelphia was 5-of-24 from 3-point range, but forward Robert Covington converted on three shots from long-distance en route to posting 17 points.
Sloppy play plagued both teams throughout the night. While shooting a combined 37.3 percent from the floor, Minnesota and Philadelphia committed 36 total turnovers, 25 of which came before halftime.
The 76ers managed to take control of much of the game’s early goings, using a 17-5 run that put the Timberwolves in a 12-point hole early in the second quarter.
However, despite the poor start, Minnesota gradually closed the gap. Philadelphia scored only three points in the final eight minutes of the first half. The Timberwolves took advantage and came back to take a 34-32 lead into halftime.
Carter-Williams scored eight points in the third quarter that helped Philadelphia slowly regain command, leading 57-56 entering the final quarter.
Forward Thaddeus Young, who was traded to the Timberwolves in the offseason as part of a three-team deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, opened 0-of-4 from the floor before finishing with 16 points against his former team.
Luc Mbah a Moute, who was also part of the Love deal, was one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers.
NOTES: Philadelphia C Nerlens Noel returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Monday against the Spurs with a hip pointer. … Sixers G Alexey Shved was sidelined with a hip injury, further depleting Philadelphia’s depth at point guard. … Timberwolves F Andrew Wiggins was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month on Wednesday following a November in which he was first in scoring (11.6 points) and third in rebounding (3.7 rebounds) among NBA rookies. … Minnesota C Nikola Pekovic missed his ninth straight game with a strained right wrist. Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said there would be no update on Pekovic’s status for at least another “week and a half.”
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