The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Through another seemingly interminable losing streak, the Philadelphia 76ers have been done in by some of the NBA’s biggest names.
Tim Duncan rallied the Spurs to a win. Dirk Nowitzki broke their hearts in Dallas.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh blitzed them over the final seven minutes in Miami.
Andrew Wiggins joined that list last night. And the Minnesota Timberwolves believe the 20-year-old star one day will deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.
Wiggins scored 11 of his 32 points in the final five minutes to help the Timberwolves keep Philadelphia winless on the season with a 100-95 victory.
“He’s turning into an unbelievable player right before our eyes every night,” said interim coach Sam Mitchell.
Kevin Garnett had eight points and 10 rebounds as the Timberwolves (6-8) won at home for the first time in seven games this season.
They dropped Philadelphia to 0-15 and avoided another embarrassing home loss to the Sixers, who snapped an 0-17 start to last season with a win at Target Center.
Jahlil Okafor had 25 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks for Philadelphia and thoroughly outplayed No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns, who played just 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
The Sixers led by 13 in the first half and by five with 2:30 to play, but once again couldn’t hold on and now have lost 25-straight dating back to last season.
“I think we’ve taught them how to compete,” said Philly coach Brett Brown.
“Now the next layer is we’ve got to teach them how to close out a game with a win.”
One game after letting an 11-point lead slip away in the final seven minutes against Miami, the Sixers led by six with under five minutes to play.
But the reigning rookie of the year—coveted by the 76ers in last year’s draft—scored on a drive, a runner, and a three-point play to get Minnesota within two at 91-89.
“My teammates and my coaches trust me down the stretch to make the right plays and win the game for us,” Wiggins noted.
“That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Then Jerami Grant swatted a dunk attempt by Kevin Martin right into Wiggins’ hands.
He threw down a thunderous dunk to tie it at 91, then knocked down two free throws a minute later for the lead.
Wiggins later fed Martin for a “three” with 28 seconds left.
“He can become MVP one day in this league,” said teammate Ricky Rubio, who had eight points, 11 assists, and six rebounds last night.
The Sixers have taken a beating over the last few years under Sam Hinkie’s plan to tank their way back to the top, but Minnesota holds a special place in their hearts.
Last year they were one loss away from tying the NBA record for consecutive defeats to start a season when they won at Target Center.
“It’s not a moral victory,” Okafor said. “Ten games ago, we had some pretty close games that we lost. We are doing better but we’re trying to get our first win,” he noted.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Cleveland beat Orlando 117-103, Charlotte topped Sacramento 127-122 (OT), Miami dumped New York 95-78, Milwaukee bounced Detroit 109-88, San Antonio downed Phoenix 98-84, and Oklahoma City trounced Utah 111-89.