PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Josh Howard had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 105-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
Alexey Shved hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 for the Timberwolves, who raced to a 23-point lead in the first half.
Kevin Love had six points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota on a night where he was hardly needed to turn in his usual dominant double-double performance. Jose Barea came off the bench and finished with 11 points and 10 assists, and three other Minnesota reserves also reached double figures.
The Timberwolves made 11 of their first 19 3-point attempts after coming in shooting a woeful 27 percent from long range this season.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 19 points.
Howard had his best game since joining the Timberwolves last month. Howard averaged 8.7 points last season in Utah, but needed a minor surgery on his left knee during the season. It’s the same knee in which he tore the ACL in 2010, an injury that slowed him for nearly two seasons.
Howard said the knee is feeling good now — and he looked great in 29 minutes against the Sixers, shooting 7 of 12 and making two 3-pointers.
He hit five of his first seven shots and scored 10 points in the first quarter to help Minnesota build a quick 13-point lead. He was impressive from mid-range and showed why he’s been in the starting lineup for the last three games.
Howard appears in shape and ready to help push Minnesota (8-8) over .500. The Timberwolves have been banged up by injuries all season with Love (illness), Malcom Lee (groin) and Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) all missing games or practice. Ricky Rubio just returned to practice for the first season this season as he recovers from a surgically repaired left knee.
The Timberwolves can give Rubio all the time he wants to come back if they keep playing like this. Luke Ridnour ended a brief Sixers spurt with a 3 in the third. Howard hit a 3 to make it 80-63 and Shved followed with another for an 18-point lead. Shed made his first three 3-pointers before slowing down.
What was left of an already sparse crowd booed the Sixers off the court after this listless performance. While Minnesota hit 3 after 3 to build a lead, the Sixers missed a whopping 15 of 20 attempts. Jason Richardson scored 14 points and Jrue Holiday had 13 points and nine assists.
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