NBA

Howard's double-double lifts Timberwolves over 76ers

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Associated Press
12/4/2012 9:32:08 PM
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PHILADELPHIA -- His team winning in a laugher, Kevin Love could afford to have some fun on the bench.

While most visiting players give a death stare to the kiss cam, Love leaned over and tried to hug it out with Lou Amundson. Love didn't quite get the affection returned. But that was OK. About everything else went Minnesota's way in their biggest win of the season.

Josh Howard had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double in more than three years to lead the Timberwolves to a 105-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.

Alexey Shved hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 for the Timberwolves, who raced to a 23-point lead in the first half and never looked back.

Love had six points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota on a night where he was hardly needed to turn in his usual dominant double-double performance. Jose Barea came off the bench and finished with 11 points and 10 assists, and three other Minnesota reserves also reached double figures.

The Timberwolves made 11 of their first 19 3-point attempts after coming in shooting a woeful 27 per cent from long range this season. They shot a season-high 53 per cent from the floor and scored more than 100 points for the second time this season.

"We always made a shot. We kept getting stops," coach Rick Adelman said. "That's the biggest thing."

Howard had his best game since joining the Timberwolves last month. Howard averaged 8.7 points last season in Utah, but needed a minor surgery on his left knee during the season. It's the same knee in which he tore the ACL in 2010, an injury that slowed him for nearly two seasons.

Howard said the knee is feeling good now -- and he looked great in 29 minutes against the Sixers, shooting 7 of 12 and making two 3-pointers.

He hit five of his first seven shots and scored 10 points in the first quarter to help Minnesota build a quick 13-point lead. He was impressive from mid-range and showed why he's been in the starting lineup for the last three games.

Howard had his first double-double since he had one for Dallas on April 10, 2009, and made sure the Timberwolves keep a comfortable lead.

"We didn't want to give them any life," Adelman said. "For the most part, we did that."

Howard appears in shape and ready to help push Minnesota (8-8) over .500. The Timberwolves have been banged up by injuries all season with Love (illness), Malcom Lee (groin) and Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) all missing games or practice. Ricky Rubio just returned to practice for the first season this season as he recovers from a surgically repaired left knee.

The Timberwolves can give Rubio all the time he wants to come back if they keep playing like this. Luke Ridnour ended a brief Sixers spurt with a 3 in the third. Howard hit a 3 to make it 80-63 and Shved followed with another for an 18-point lead. Shed made his first three 3-pointers before slowing down.

"You aren't always going to play like we did tonight," Barea said. "I think we're doing a good job of staying aggressive and it's working out for us."

Evan Turner led the Sixers with 19 points.

What was left of an already sparse crowd booed the Sixers off the court after this listless performance. While Minnesota hit 3 after 3 to build a lead, the Sixers missed a whopping 15 of 20 attempts. Jason Richardson scored 14 points and Jrue Holiday had 13 points and nine assists.

"We have to fight. We have to compete," coach Doug Collins said. "We're not gonna run up and down the sidelines here. That's not going to work. This team hasn't been through anything together. So I don't know who we are."

The Sixers are loaded with new players after a big off-season overhaul and Collins is still looking for a locker room leader. Richardson tried to stay positive after their second straight loss.

"We try to stay together, that's the main thing," Richardson said. "We were outplayed. Yes, we are a very new team, we don't know each other real well, but we have a 10-8 record."

Notes: Collins said the Sixers would consider sending F Arnett Moultrie to the NBDL. ... Sixers G Nick Young sat out with an injured toe. ... Minnesota's 65 points in the first half were the most scored against the 76ers in any half this season. ... Minnesota's 13 3-pointers were a season high. ... The Timberwolves had a 47-40 edge on the boards. The Sixers have been outrebounded in nine of the last 12 games.

Josh Howard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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