Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia 76ers finally won a basketball game.
It wasn't pretty, but the Sixers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 85-77, to avoid tying the 2009-10 Nets for the worst start in NBA history.
"The win is coming. We're getting better," said Philadelphia coach Brett Brown prior to Wednesday's game.
He was right.
The victory means the 1-17 Sixers don't have to put their name next to the Nets in the NBA record book of shame. The 2009-10 Nets began 0-18.
"We feel like this validates the work that they've put in and I have a tremendous amount of respect that they never once quit on themselves, short- circuited a practice and they were rewarded tonight," said Brown after the win.
Sixers forward Robert Covington was an unlikely hero, scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Michael Carter-Williams ended with 20 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and three steals.
"It was a great game, the guys played great. It was a team win," said Carter- Williams.
Minnesota forward Thaddeus Young ended with 16 points and six rebounds against his former team. Young played the first seven seasons of his career with the Sixers and was part of the three-team blockbuster trade that landed Kevin Love in Cleveland and Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett with the Timberwolves.
Gorgui Dieng tallied 15 points and 16 boards for the Timberwolves (4-13), who have lost three in a row. Mo Williams donated 14 points and seven assists.
"We're not a very good team right now and we've all got to get better," said Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. "We've got to work with our guys more to get them to do what we need to do."
Minnesota used a 7-0 spurt to grab a 75-73 lead with 2:17 to play.
But the Sixers ended the game on a 12-2 run to claim victory. K.J. McDaniels connected from beyond the arc and Carter-Williams made a layup around a traveling call on Dieng.
Dieng's layup got the Timberwolves within 78-77, but Covington responded with a 3-pointer. Nerlens Noel's alley-oop layup made it 83-77 with 46.7 seconds remaining.
"Congrats lil homies," Sixers legend Allen Iverson tweeted. "Keep fighting and stay strong."
The game actually had to be restarted 16 seconds in after officials figured out that both teams were lined up and shooting at the wrong ends of the floor.
Following the confusion, the Sixers raced out to a 12-4 lead. They took a 23-13 edge into the second.
Philadelphia extended its margin to 12 before Minnesota got going. The home team ended the half on a 17-3 run to take a 34-32 lead.
The Sixers led 57-56 following a tight third quarter that featured seven lead changes and six ties.
The Timberwolves had won five straight against the Sixers ... Philadelphia guard Alexey Shved (hip flexor) missed the game ... Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and McDaniels each had 12 points for the Sixers, who went 5-of-24 from beyond the arc ... Wiggins ended with 11 points.