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3 76ers observations from loss vs. Timberwolves

76ers, Timberwolves, 76ers Timberwolves observations

The Philadelphia 76ers returned home after a season-long six-game road trip on Saturday night for a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Joel Embiid making his return to the lineup. Behind some late-game heroics from both sides, this game found its way into double overtime. When it was all said and done, Minnesota walked out with a 121-120 victory. Here are some Sixers observations from the matchup. 

3 Philadelphia 76ers observations from 2OT loss to Timberwolves

1) Guys getting used to each other again 

The past two weeks were not kind to the Sixers, because they were forced to play with a depleted roster. After a tough stretch of new players constantly coming in and out of the rotation, they were back to full strength on Saturday. Tobias Harris returned after dealing with a hip injury, and Embiid played in a game for the first time in three weeks. 

Early on, the growing pains were apparent. It was clear the group needed some time getting used to playing alongside one another. This did not take long, though, as the Sixers stormed back with a massive comeback in the second half after being down as much as 20. 

One player in particular who had to readjust was Tyrese Maxey. The second-year guard went on a phenomenal run when the team was shorthanded but had to dial it back some with the return of Embiid and Harris. 

Due to how long some players were out, it’s not surprising the Sixers stumbled out of the gate a bit. The rust was there, but they managed to shake it off rather quickly to look like the group that was leading the Eastern Conference to start the season. 

2) Danny Green adjusting nicely to new role 

Recently, Doc Rivers made a slight tweak to his starting lineup. In an effort to keep his minutes down, Danny Green is coming off the bench. This is a big adjustment for the veteran wing, but he is settling into the role nicely. 

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Green did a little bit of everything for the Sixers on Saturday. In 21 minutes of action, he finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals. On top of that, Green also connected on three of his seven attempts from beyond the arc. 

Transitioning to a bench role is something not all players handle gracefully, but Green does not appear to be bothered by the situation. If Green can continue to produce like this in limited minutes, it’s a move Rivers should stick with moving forward. 

3) Joel Embiid dominates in return to action 

The story of this game was undoubtedly Joel Embiid. Despite being out for three weeks due to health and safety protocols, the MVP runner-up did not miss a beat in his return.

Embiid played 45 minutes in Saturday’s overtime thriller and looked like the dominant center we are accustomed to seeing. He ended the night with a game-high 42 points, 16 rebounds and went to the free-throw line 21 times. 

This was a picture-perfect return to action for the All-Star center. Not only did he manage to play big minutes, but he left his imprint all over the contest as well. The Sixers need Embiid to hit the ground running if they are going to get their season back on track, and he looks prepared to do so.