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76ers return home to battle Timberwolves
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia 76ers return home from a brief road trip Tuesday night to welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers split a two-game, two-night swing through Charlotte, where they beat the Bobcats, 104-98, and Chicago, where they lost to the Bulls, 93-88.
The Sixers have won five of their last six at home and will be in Philly for four of their next five. They post an impressive 5-1 mark against the Western Conference.
This has been an interesting season for the Sixers. After their summer blockbuster trade for center Andrew Bynum, the stud center hasn't played a minute with problems in both knees.
Jrue Holiday has picked up the slack. He's a favorite for Most Improved Player, has a realistic shot at an All-Star berth with averages of 18.5 ppg and 9.3 apg.
Holiday isn't the only one.
Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are scoring over 14.0 ppg and pulling down over 7.0 rpg.
"I have three guys right now, to me, who are playing at an extremely high level and that would be Jrue, Thad and Evan," said head coach Doug Collins. "We have to keep growing and get other guys playing at higher levels."
The Sixers, who might be without the services of bench guard Nick Young on Tuesday due to a toe injury, fell to the Bulls on Saturday and got out- rebounded by 13. Holiday and Thaddeus Young both have over 20, but Collins played the starters heavy minutes and only brought three players off the bench.
The Timberwolves head to Philly winners of two of their last three. That came after a five-game losing streak, but the T-Wolves are still battling substantial injury problems.
With guard Ricky Rubio not back from knee surgery, Kevin Love has been back for a few weeks, but starters Malcolm Lee and Andrei Kirilenko were shelved Friday night against the Bucks. Lee was out with a sore groin and Kirilenko missed his second in a row with back spasms. Both are listed as questionable for Tuesday.
Against the Bucks, the Wolves were paced by the big men, Love and center Nikola Pekovic. Love had 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Pekovic scored 14 points and pulled down 16 boards. Three other Minnesota players scored in double-figures.
"We were very balanced all the way through," said Love. "We had some opportunities to take advantage of some of their downfalls in the second half. We did a decent job of taking control and some guys stepped up and hit big shots."
Defense was the story against Milwaukee. The Wolves held the Bucks to 36.6 percent shooting from the field and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The Timberwolves won last season's only matchup, but Minnesota hasn't won in Philadelphia since Dec. 3, 2006.
12/04 10:38:37 ET