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Timberwolves hold on, top undermanned 76ers 112-109

PHILADELPHIA — The Timberwolves made it big again on the road against another undermanned team.

Anthony Edwards had 25 points, D’Angelo Russell had 19 and the Minnesota Timberwolves survived a late scare to win their third straight game 112-109 against the underhanded Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

“We took a lot of bad shots, I definitely did, but we still won,” Edwards said of a 7-of-21 performance.

The 76ers have already played two weeks without James Harden due to a tendon strain in his right foot and have put starting man Tyrese Maxey on the injury list with a left foot sustained on Friday. PJ Tucker suffered an unspecified injury against the Timberwolves and Joel Embiid injured his left ankle/foot after colliding with a teammate late in the game.

Embiid, the reigning NBA scoring champion, said long after last buzzer he was still in pain and hobbled off the podium after his press conference.

“Hopefully it feels somehow better, but we’ll see,” Embiid said.

Maxey and Harden averaged more than 20 points during the season, and their losses left Embiid bearing the burden in a lineup that at one point included him, Danuel House Jr., De’Anthony Melton, Shake Milton and Georges Niang.

“You feel sorry for nobody. So I won’t feel sorry for us either,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We have to find a way to win. I know that sounds crazy. But we just have to. And we will find out.”

The 76s need more time.

Embiid had 32 points, nine rebounds and made 18 of 20 free throws. Milton had 27 points and Melton had 19.

Without two top scorers, the Timberwolves rushed the Sixers early and continued a winning streak with all three wins away. They won in Cleveland, Orlando and went up 8-8 to .500.

The Magic played without rookie Paolo Banchero and center Wendell Carter Jr., their two leading rebounders and two of their top three scorers. Cleveland played without injured All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen.

“We’re not in a position where we feel we can afford any disappointment,” said Timberwolves manager Chris Finch. “We’re just starting to play well ourselves.”

Embiid scared the Sixers 5:33 into the game when he tripped over fallen teammate Georges Niang and fell onto the court. Embiid rolled his left ankle and lay on his back as he was examined by a trainer.

Embiid limped onto the bench but stayed in the game. He hobbled the rest of the game and hit the court again – on a steal and then followed up with a 3 that drew the Sixers to 105-102.

Edwards buried a 3 that extended the lead to six.

However, Melton hit a 3 with 30 seconds left that put the Sixers within a second, but he missed a traffic stop on the next possession, which was their best final effort to complete a 20-point comeback.

Niang airballed a Desperation 3 at the horn.

“Sometimes the clock in your head goes faster than what you actually have,” he said

Minnesota led by 15 points in the fourth and was outplayed 19-7 in the final 8:46 of the game.

“We were able to hold on, take enough shots, make a couple of big plays to win a game like that,” Finch said. “It shouldn’t have come down to that.”

TIP INS

Timberwolves: Finch played at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he was an NCAA Division III All-American in 1991 and 1992. He played at the same time the 76ers were holding a college training camp. “Team of my youth, but no more,” said Finch.

76ers: Tobias Harris (left hip pain) sat out.

Jazz beat Blazers 118-113 and took the Western Conference lead

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jordan Clarkson scored 28 points, including eight straight in the 1:48 Finals, in the Utah Jazz’s 118-113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Malik Beasley had 29 points off the bench to help Utah take the Western Conference lead 12-6.

“We’re proud of how we came out after 18 games,” said jazz coach Will Hardy. “We believe we can get better. This is our focus. Like any team, we are not a finished product. That doesn’t mean we’re proud of where we are now, but we mustn’t lose ourselves in what anyone says about us.”

Beasley was a force throughout the game, especially in the second quarter where he scored 15 points.

“I think he understands our system a little bit better,” jazz coach Will Hardy said of Beasley scoring six 3-pointers.

“The timing that he cuts with, the timing that comes off the screens, was really good. And his teammates found him at the right moments.”

The Jazz also scored 28 points from 18 Blazers turnovers.

“A lot of it is negligence,” said Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. “Some of these are other teams that are pressurizing our passes and activities. Some of them are unfamiliar. There’s a lot in there. But no matter what it is, we have to get better.”

Anfernee Simons led Portland with 23 points.

“It took us too long to fight,” Billups said.

Both teams lost their starting points in the second half.

After colliding into a screen, Utah’s Mike Conley left with a left knee injury at 10:22 in the third quarter.

Shortly after Conley was eliminated, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard went to the locker room and didn’t return due to a tightness in his right calf. Lillard has missed five games with the calf strain so far this season.

“Last time was worse,” Lillard said of his current calf issue. “When I tried it for the first time, I knew right away. The reason I got myself out is so hopefully we can move forward this time rather than me staying out there and putting myself in a worse position.”

Clippers hit 21 3-pointers in Spurs’ 119-97 loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George scored 21 points and hit five of the Clippers season-bests of 21 3-pointers, and Los Angeles defeated the collapsing San Antonio Spurs 119-97 on Saturday night.

Norman Powell added a season-high 26 points from the bench and Reggie Jackson had 20 points as six Clippers scored in double figures. Powell hit five 3s and Jackson sank all four of his 3-point attempts.

“Today was the best game we’ve played all season. That’s the blueprint for how we have to play,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “It was a fun game to play and a fun game to watch.”

George pinched his calf and left after playing 15 minutes. “He’s fine,” Lue said.

Kawhi Leonard had 11 points in 22 minutes of his second straight start after missing 12 games with a right knee stiffness.

John Wall had 15 assists, becoming the first Clippers player since Chris Paul in 2017 to have at least that many.

“I was trying to be 20, to be honest,” Wall said. “I’ve been passing the ball my whole career.”

Coming off the bench in his first season with the Clippers, Wall feels no pressure to hit big numbers on a team with so many offensive weapons.

“This is probably the deepest team any of us have played on,” he said. “We shouldn’t worry about who is the top scorer, just play it right.”

Since the start of the season 5-2, the Spurs have lost nine of ten and four in a row. They were managed by Jakob Pöltl wi

20 points. Doug McDermott added 13 points and Tre Jones had 10 assists.

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