It’s way too early to call the Wolves’ game with Philadelphia tonight a must-win. But, after yet another third-quarter meltdown in Tuesday’s loss to Charlotte, in the fourth game of a four-game homestand, against a 76ers team that, while improving, is still very beatable? It’s important the Wolves respond to Tuesday’s disappointment and Wednesday’s intense practice.
“We’re going to come out hard,” Andrew Wiggins said. “This is a win we need to get, and we have to show it. We have to do it.’’
The 76ers won for the second time this season, against Washington, last night, with rookie of the year candidate Joel Embiid sitting. Embiid, coming back from surgeries on his right foot that kept him out the last two seasons, hasn’t been playing both games of back-to-backs yet. But, after sitting Wednesday he’ll play tonight.That will only make winning more difficult for the Wolves.
“We have to respond,” Ricky Rubio said. “I think we’re doing the right things, but we just have to close out, stop what we’re doing wrong.’’
Here are some other notes from this morning’s shootaround:
--Embiid and Andrew Wiggins were teammates on the 2013-14 University of Kansas team. Both were one-and-done players, with Wiggins getting drafted first overall and Embiid third.
Since then they’ve had very different paths.
While Wiggins was winning rookie of the year and improving his game, surgeries forced Embiid to wait a long time for a chance to get on the court. Wouldn’t it would be strange for two players from the same draft class to win ROY honors ?
“It’s been a long process for him,” Wiggins said. “But he’s back now. He’s healthy and he’s playing great basketball. I’m happy to see it, personally.’’
--76ers guard Sergio Rodriguez has had an interesting career path. A Spanish star, he first came to the NBA in 2006. But, while playing for three teams over four seasons, he never quite found his place. He returned to Spain to play for Real Madrid for six seasons, winning two Euroleague titles and one MVP award.
Now he’s back for a second try, and he’s starting for the 76ers.
Rubio watching him during his first stint playing in Spain, and played against him while Rodriguez was with Madrid..
“He’s a great player who came in this league and couldn’t find his spot,” Rubio said. “But he went back to Europe, and he was the man over there. Now he comes back with more confidence, and I think he’s doing a heck of a job in Philly. He’s a great player, a great guy.’’
--Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said a decision on wither Shabazz Muhammad and Brandon Rush would play tonight would be made prior to the game. Muhammad (knee) has missed the last two games. Rush (big toe) has not played the last five games.