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National Basketball Association
Preview
Philadelphia at Minnesota
When: 9:30 PM ET, Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Philadelphia 76ers attempt to end their roughest stretch of the season when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. Philadelphia is mired in a season-worst four-game skid and hopes to have center Joel Embiid (back) after he missed the past two games.

Embiid was rested for Saturday's game in Cleveland and was a late scratch against New Orleans on Sunday due to back stiffness. But the news improved Monday as Embiid, who is averaging 27 points and 10.8 rebounds over his last five appearances, was listed as questionable for the matchup versus Minnesota. The Timberwolves posted a 97-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in the opener of a five-game homestand and are a stellar five games above .500 one-third of the way through the season. Star center Karl-Anthony Towns leads the NBA with 21 double-doubles and is averaging 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCSN Philadelphia, FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE 76ERS (13-13): Philadelphia has dropped four consecutive games while springing leaks on defense and allowing 114.5 points per game during the stretch. Rookie playmaker Ben Simmons has stood out during the funk with averages of 18.3 points, 10.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds while registering one triple-double and two double-doubles. "He's been a four-man his whole life, we decided to make him a point guard," 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters. "It's the hardest position to play in the NBA, let alone for a rookie, let alone for somebody that was a college four-man. To his credit, he's embraced the position."

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (16-11):
Minnesota has won three of its past four games but needed shooting guard Jimmy Butler to take over in the fourth quarter to score 10 of his 22 points to hold off the lowly Mavericks. "I thought Jimmy closed the game out for us," Timberwolves backup shooting guard Jamal Crawford told reporters. "It's such a luxury to have a guy like that that you can put the ball in his hands and he can make the right play. More times than not, it works in our favor." Crawford scored 16 points in 20 minutes off the bench against Dallas and has yet to reach the 20-point mark this season while averaging 9.4 points.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Timberwolves have won seven of the past 11 meetings but the teams split last season's two matchups.

2. Minnesota SF Andrew Wiggins had just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting against Dallas and is averaging 12.5 points over the past four games.

3. Philadelphia F Robert Covington (back) is questionable after a one-game absence, while PG T.J. McConnell (shoulder) is slated to play after sitting out two games.

PREDICTION: Timberwolves 107, 76ers 99
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Philadelphia 13-13 L4 7-6 6-7 0-1 13-12 0-3 6-6
Minnesota 16-11 W2 9-4 7-7 1-0 15-11 4-1 13-5
Last Meeting
Philadelphia Minnesota
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
1/3/17 MIN 91 PHI 93 93 48 38.8 91 47 40.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Philadelphia J. Embiid 25 40.0 8
Minnesota Z. LaVine 28 55.0 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Philadelphia R. Covington 10 1 9
Minnesota K. Towns 16 6 10
Assists Player  
Philadelphia T. McConnell 8
Minnesota R. Rubio 5
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Philadelphia B. Simmons 506 50.5 84
Minnesota K. Towns 558 52.9 102
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Philadelphia B. Simmons 260 54 206
Minnesota K. Towns 319 73 246
Assists Player  
Philadelphia B. Simmons 219
Minnesota J. Teague 178
Quickchart Matchup
Philadelphia Philadelphia Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
Philadelphia Off vs Minnesota - Points For 108.2 Points For
Philadelphia Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 106.3 Points Against
Philadelphia - FG% 45.7 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 48.2 FG%
Philadelphia - Reb 48.7 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 40.5 Reb
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Philadelphia Philadelphia Defense
Minnesota Off vs Philadelphia - Points For 107.1 Points For
Minnesota Off vs Philadelphia - Points Against 108.8 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 47.1 FG%
Philadelphia - FG% 44.5 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 42.3 Reb
Philadelphia - Reb 42.2 Reb