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Jefferson leads Timberwolves past 76ers

Feb 20, 2008 - 5:31 AM Tom Coyer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves dominated the paint and ended the Philadelphia 76ers' five-game win streak while also ending a five game losing streak of their own with a 104-88 victory on Tuesday night.

Philadelphia didn't have an answer for Minnesota center Al Jefferson as he scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Timberwolves rookie forward Corey Brewer also contributed to the rebounding edge as he grabbed eight, including four offensive.

"Our energy level was not what theirs was," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Certainly not early on. It was better late, but by then we were in such a hole and they were able to make timely shots."

Wolves coach Randy Wittman said rebounding was a big key for them.

"We moved the ball, we didn't make shots but then we got second shots," he said. "And that's kind of a demoralizing thing when you get second shot put backs or fouls."

Minnesota used a balanced attack with seven players scoring in double figures, led by Rashad McCants with 20 points.

Wolves forward Craig Smith was one of bench players in double figures with 11 points and four rebounds.

"Everyone chipped in tonight in the win," Smith said. "We knew they were coming in on a hot streak but coming off a few days off we knew we were at home and had to take care of business."

Philadelphia, which went into the All-Star break by sweeping a five-game homestand, used an 8-2 run early in the third quarter to get within three at 57-54 as Minnesota struggled to score early after the break.

"We didn't overlook Minnesota." Cheeks said. "They may not have a lot of wins, but they have played well at home with nine of their wins coming at home. So we knew what they were capable of doing and they played that way tonight."

Minnesota countered with a 13-5 run of their own to end the quarter and led by 12 heading into the fourth.

The 76ers were led by Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller who scored 17 and 15 points respectively.

"We never got on the same page." a frustrated Iguodala said. "Our rotations weren't there from doubling on Jefferson and offensively we had times when we were running into each other."

Wolves guard Randy Foye who missed the first 43 games recovering from a stress reaction in his left patella got his first start of the season after seeing increased action in the team's previous eight games.

When asked about starting Foye, coach Wittman felt the former Villanova star was ready.

"Eight games is getting his legs back underneath him a little bit, it was time," Wittman said.

Foye finished with 13 points in 33 minutes of action.

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