Rookie Ben Simmons recorded his 10th triple-double with 15 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers dominated the third quarter and defeated the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 120-108 on Saturday.
The 76ers won their sixth straight by outscoring Minnesota 39-19 in the third quarter. They shot 55.6 percent (15-of-27) in the period while getting 13 assists and holding Minnesota to 15.8 percent (3-of-19).
Simmons had 10 points and five assists in the third as Philadelphia totaled 33 assists. It was the Sixers’ 24th straight game with at least 20 assists, equaling the team record set during the 1992-93 season, and their 20th game this season with at least 30 assists.
Joel Embiid and Dario Saric added 19 and 18 points, respectively, as Philadelphia shot 47.7 percent and made 13 of 37 3-pointers (35.1 percent)
Reserve Marco Belinelli contributed 17 while Robert Covington chipped in 11 as Philadelphia (42-30) clinched its first winning season since 2004-05.
Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 16 points on a night when the Wolves shot 38.1 percent and were 6-of-23 from 3-point range. Karl-Anthony Towns posted his league-leading 61st double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds but was 3-of-15 from the floor.
Embiid missed his first four shots but Saric scored 11 points as the Sixers took a 32-24 lead going into the second quarter. Minnesota was within 47-42 on a fadeaway by Wiggins with 4:34 left. Philadelphia took a 13-point lead about three minutes later, but Jamal Crawford hit a 19-footer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 59-52 by halftime.
The Sixers opened the second half with a 15-2 run and grabbed a 74-54 lead when Simmons recorded his 10th assist on Covington’s 3-pointer with 8:12 left. Philadelphia saw the lead reach 86-60 on a layup by Ilyasova with 4:34 remaining and took a 98-71 advantage into the fourth.
Minnesota was within 111-101 with about 2 1/2 minutes left after a basket by Gorgui Dieng. After Dieng blocked Ersan Ilyasova’s layup, Simmons, Embiid, and Covington returned.
Minnesota forced the Sixers to seal it at the line by fouling Simmons, who made three foul shots down the stretch.
—Field Level Media