Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/8

Game 1: Wednesday, December 8th
Game 2: Friday, January 7th

76ers 84

(15-17, 8-11 away)

Timberwolves 89

(17-14, 9-5 home)

7:00 PM ET, January 7, 2005

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 15 22 21 2684
MIN 19 24 22 2489

Top Performers

Phi: C. Williamson 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast

Min: K. Garnett 18 Pts, 18 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

Minnesota ends four-game slide

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves took advantage of an injury to Philadelphia's Allen Iverson, but lost two of their own in the process.

Sam Cassell scored Minnesota's first 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 26 Friday night as the Timberwolves ended a four-game losing streak with an 89-84 victory over the 76ers.

Iverson, the NBA's leading scorer, was sidelined by a sprained right ankle he injured Wednesday at Utah. He was also bothered by the flu and a bruised left shoulder, but Sixers coach Jim O'Brien said it was the swollen ankle that kept Iverson out.

The victory was costly for Minnesota. Cassell strained his right hamstring on a non-contact play late in the fourth quarter and didn't know if he would play Saturday at Washington.

Backup center Mark Madsen fractured his left thumb in the first quarter after a collision with the Sixers' Samuel Dalembert. He will see a hand specialist on Saturday and could miss several months.

Wally Szczerbiak added 23 points and Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Minnesota, which nearly blew a 16-point lead.

"Not only do we need to take baby steps to improve," Garnett said, "but we need to understand what those steps are."

The Sixers were able to close within one point on two occasions, and trailed 86-84 when Corliss Williamson hit two free throws with 25 seconds left. After Szczerbiak made a free throw, Marc Jackson threw away a pass for Kyle Korver, and Fred Hoiberg iced it with two free throws.

"Nothing comes easy," Cassell said. "Philly took its time getting off our back."

The Sixers concluded an eight-game road trip, finishing 5-3. Iverson averaged 31 points on the first seven games of the trip. Philadelphia shot just 35 percent without Iverson, who has been their leading scorer in 25 of the 30 games he's played.

Reserves Corliss Williamson and Jackson led the Sixers with 21 and 17 points, respectively, as Philadelphia received 50 points from its bench.

"We played hard, but that's the makeup of our team," Jackson said. "We're a bunch of warriors. No matter how far you get us down, kick us in the mouth, we're going to keep fighting back."

Garnett started the game 0-for-7 and finished 6-for-17, guarded mainly by former teammate Jackson.

Minnesota led 63-47 in the third quarter, but a stretch of listless play by the Wolves followed and Philadelphia closed the quarter with an 11-2 run.

Cassell, who made a reputation last season on fourth-quarter heroics, scored Minnesota's first 14 points of the final quarter on a series of mid-range jumpers, a 3-pointer, a conventional three-point play and a left-handed hook in the lane. Garnett scored the next seven.

"That's the time when you've got to win the game," Cassell said. "We need to get back to doing the things that made us successful."

Asked about his ability to play Saturday, Cassell said, "If I'm in D.C., I'm going (to play)."

Cassell took advantage of Iverson's absence on defense to score 10 points in the first quarter. The Wolves took the lead for good at 13-11.

Game notes

Iverson missed one game earlier this season, Nov. 21 against Miami, a 93-83 Sixers loss. ... The Sixers play their first home game since Dec. 20 on Monday against Portland. O'Brien said Iverson is expected to play in that game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 84 89
FGM-FGA 27-78 (.346) 35-87 (.402)
3PM-3PA 6-19 (.316) 4-14 (.286)
FTM-FTA 24-28 (.857) 15-18 (.833)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-48 9-46
Assists 14 23
Turnovers 16 8
Steals 5 9
Blocks 2 7
Fast Break Points 2 17
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (2/0) 22 (1/0)
Largest Lead 2 16

Top Performers

Corliss Williamson Williamson
Points: 21
Reb: 6
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 18
Reb: 18
Ast: 5
Stl: 3
Blk: 2