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Sixers vs. Timberwolves takeaways: Rudy Gobert has respect for Joel Embiid; Shake Milton finding a groove

Gobert said of Embiid: "He’s a very unique player. I know his ability with some power and finesse to be able to attack the rim."

Joel Embiid (center) of the Sixers gets fouled by the Timberwolves during the first half vs. the Timberwolves. Embiid finished with 32 points and nine rebounds.
Joel Embiid (center) of the Sixers gets fouled by the Timberwolves during the first half vs. the Timberwolves. Embiid finished with 32 points and nine rebounds.Read moreCharles Fox / Staff Photographer

Rudy Gobert has the utmost respect for Joel Embiid’s game. Shake Milton is getting into a rhythm. And the undermanned 76ers aren’t good enough to just turn things on late.

Below is my look at three things that stood out during the 76ers’ 112-109 setback to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Respect for Embiid

Saturday marked the fourth straight game that Embiid scored at least 32 points. He finished 32 while making 18 of 20 free throws, along with nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

On this night, the All-Star center made just 6 of 15 shots. But Gobert, the three-time defensive player of the year, still is impressed with Embiid’ skill set.

“He’s a very unique player,” the Timberwolves center said. “I know his ability with some power and finesse to be able to attack the rim. But also make you pay for every mistake that you make. It’s tough to guard.

“You got to be really solid. Even when you are solid, he might hit the shot.”

Milton’s rhythm

Even though Embiid was the leading scorer, Milton was the most productive Sixer.

The combination guard finished with a season-high 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting, including going 3 of 5 on three-pointers, along with six rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes, 3 seconds. If there was a negative, it was his six turnovers.

Milton thinks the playing time he’s receiving as Tyrese Maxey is sidelined with a fracture in his left foot will help him going forward.

» READ MORE: Giannis Antetokounmpo knocks over ladder, exchanges words with Sixers’ Montrezl Harrell in postgame altercation

“I feel like the more consistent I’m able to be out there and help the team win, the more comfortable I’ll be,” he said. “But my team, the whole team, does a good job of encouraging me to keep going even if I make mistakes.”

On Saturday, the Sixers told him to keep going, keep being aggressive and make plays.

“As long as I have that mentality,” he said, " I feel like I’m going to help the team out.”

A little too late

The Sixers (8-8) had the look of a team going through the motions in the first half. And that led to the Timberwolves (8-8) building a commanding 20-point cushion in the second quarter.

Some commended a Sixers squad, playing without starters Maxey, James Harden, and Tobias Harris, for closing the gap to 110-109 with 29.1 seconds left.

But …

“You can’t be that lackadaisical the whole game and expect to come out on top,” Milton said. “I definitely think we should have jumped out early and been a little more consistent.”

Gameday Central

Description: It took almost two years but Ben Simmons will soon play at the Wells Fargo Center. This time, however, Simmons will be positioned alongside the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 22 when they face the Sixers. The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell and Keith Pompey will broadcast live from the marquee game, discussing Simmons’ return and the Sixers’ injury issues.