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Sixers must neutralize Love, Pekovic

MINNEAPOLIS – The 76ers will try to get back to their fast-paced offensive rhythm.

If they fail, it will be a long Monday night inside the Target Center. The Sixers (7-15) can't bang down low with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves (10-11) boast one of the league's best front courts in 6-foot-10, 243-pound power forward Kevin Love and 6-11, 285-pound center Nikola Pekovic.

"Lumberjacks. Men," Sixers coach Brett Brown said, "and just about everything [else] when you think about a physical presence and the toughness and the rebounding and those things those two are.

"And you know that's not our strengths. And it's not the design of our team. So it epitomizes what could be our problem and what we need to do as a team to address it."

Love averages 23.8 points, an NBA leading 13.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists. On Tuesday night, he recorded his league-leading 14th 20-point, 10-rebound effort by finishing with 26 points, 16 rebounds in a 121-94 road victory over the Detroit Pistons. He made 4 of 6 three-point attempts.

"For the way the game is going, he's kind of like the model for the new-age power forwards," Sixers center Spencer Hawes said. "He has a feel for the game. He can pass. You know he can score, but also his ability to rebound, especially on the offensive glass."

Pekovic is averaging 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. He has recorded nine double-doubles this season.

The Montenegro native also dominated the Sixers in the teams' last regular-season series meeting, finishing with 27 points, 18 rebounds and two blocked shots on Feb. 20, 2013.

"You look at Pekovic, who's an interior beast and has the pound-pound and jump hook, all those things," Brown said. "So they complement each other well from the physical side of it."

- Keith Pompey

Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers