Created: 01/06/2014 8:43 PM KSTP.com
Kevin Love scored 16 of his 26 points in a dominant third quarter and Nikola Pekovic had 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 126-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Kevin Martin scored 18 points and Corey Brewer had 15 to help the Timberwolves move back to .500 (17-17). Minnesota made 16 of 26 3-pointers.
Thaddeus Young scored 20 points for the Sixers, who snapped a four-game winning streak. The Sixers had won the final four games of a six-game road trip.
The Timberwolves ended any threat of Philadelphia extending its streak in a hurry. They led by 16 at the half and Love hit a pair of 3s in the third to build a 31-point lead.
The Timberwolves had seven players score in double figures.
The undersized Sixers simply had no answer for the Love and Pekovic underneath, or, in Love's case - also beyond the arc. Young, named before the game the Eastern Conference player of the week, gamely tried to shut down the potent duo, with no luck.
Love and the Timberwolves turned the game into a blowout in the third. He hit his first 3 for a 24-point lead, converted a three-point play for a 25-point lead, then nailed another 3 late in the quarter to make it 96-71.
The Sixers showed why they are one of the worst 3-point defending teams in the league. Love hit four, Martin had three and the Timberwolves hit 13 of 20 through the first three quarters. That was more than enough to finish off the Sixers.
The Sixers were riding a season-best four-game winning streak, capped by a win at Portland. Perhaps fatigued from the lengthy road trip, they were never much of a factor after the first quarter. Minnesota closed the first half on a 24-8 run, with Brewer and Love hitting game-changing 3s.
The already sparse crowd, still reeling from the Eagles' early postseason exit, fled for the exits by the fourth. The final quarter had the feel of a preseason game - which the Sixers surely wish it was. A.J. Price and Robbie Hummel connected on consecutive 3s in the final minute for the final 3s for a team that was shooting only 34 percent. Ricky Rubio had eight assists and Minnesota held a 53-40 rebounding edge.
James Anderson had 14 points, and Michael Carter-Williams and Evan Turner each scored 13 points for the Sixers.
NOTES: Timberwolves C Ronny Turiaf was scoreless in 22 minutes in his first game since he hurt an elbow on Nov. 1. ... Timberwolves F Luc Mbah a Moute sat out with a strained groin. ... 76ers G Tony Wroten was inactive with the flu. ... The game between the San Antonio Spurs and Timberwolves originally scheduled to be played in Mexico City on Dec. 4 will now be played in Minnesota on April 8.
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