The Philadelphia 76ers needed a boost without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden provided just that.
Bolden filled in at centre for Embiid and made a career night out of his increased playing time. He finished with a career-high 19 points on five (!) made 3-pointers to go with a full stat sheet of eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal.
He played 32 minutes, which was also a career-high, and finished a team-best plus-22 on the night.
. 19 PTS | 8 REB | 3 BLK@jonahbolden43 was feelin' it vs Minnesota! #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/VH9UC6tkXp- * - Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 31, 2019
With Embiid expected to rest through the next two games, it's likely head coach Brett Brown will go back to Bolden to fill the void in the starting lineup after tonight's performance.
And for the 76ers' usual superstar, Ben Simmons recorded a near-triple-double of 20 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. He controlled the pace of the game and also got the job done defensively, recording two steals and a block.
It's no surprise Simmons took his play to another level with Embiid sidelined, because he's done so all season. In the 13 games without the All-Star centre, Simmons has averaged 19.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists - roughly two more points and three more rebounds than his averages for the season.
Philly looked like they were going to make things nice and easy in Jimmy Butler's first return back to Minnesota, taking an early 18-point lead after one quarter. The Timberwolves were able to cut that lead to 13 by the half but allowed the Sixers to get it back up to 17 right out of the gate in the third quarter when Simmons got a pair of easy buckets.
Minnesota wasn't done fighting yet, though, as they kept things within striking distance heading into the fourth.
They were able to get the score as close as three points in the final quarter but could never get over the hump as their comeback ran out of time.
While Andrew Wiggins (24 points) and Karl-Anthony Towns (21 points) both had solid games, it was their bench that kept them in it.
Philadelphia's second unit has been a glaring weakness as the season begins to wind down and we saw that again today - they were outscored by 20 points, 46-26. The Timberwolves' bench runs extremely thin at this point in the season and yet they were still able to dominate Philly's second group.
However, a game-high 25 points from Tobias Harris, 16 points from J.J. Redick and a double-double of 12 points and 13 boards from Butler was enough to slide past Minnesota.
The 76ers inch closer and closer to officially securing the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, though it's highly unlikely they'll lose that spot. They hold a 4.5-game lead over the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers with six games remaining.