Notebook: Spurs 106, Timberwolves 88



Posted Jan 13, 2013 10:41 PM

By Tim Price, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Tony Parker scored 20 points and Gary Neal came off the bench to add 15 as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-88 on Sunday at AT&T Center.

The Spurs (29-11) shot 56 percent from the floor and have won 12-straight at home. But they played the second half without Manu Ginobili, who sustained a left hamstring strain in the final minute of the first half and limped into the locker room after going 6-for-11 for 12 points with five assists.

Minnesota (16-18) has lost three in a row and four of five, but the Timberwolves did get the return of J.J. Barea after missing the last two games with a back strain. Barea received an anti-inflammatory injection last week, and tonight he led the Wolves with 15 points with six assists.

QUOTABLE: "We finally found a group that moved the basketball instead of standing. We actually changed sides of the court. That's nice when you score."

-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: The Spurs outscored Minnesota 32-10 on the fastbreak, including an 8-0 advantage when San Antonio put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

TURNING POINT: Minnesota trailed by 10 points when Barea hit three foul shots with 7:22 to go. One of those free throws came after a technical was whistled on Popovich, who drew two quick technical fouls and was ejected. But the Wolves missed their next five shots, and when Stephen Jackson hit a 3-pointer on the fastbreak it marked a 9-0 run and gave San Antonio a 99-80 lead with 5 ½ minutes to go.

QUOTABLE II: "A lot of transition points is our weak point. In the first half, Tony Parker played so well, and in the second half Gary Neal made those shots."

-- Minnesota's Andrei Kirilienko

HOT: Parker's 10-for-15 showing from the floor followed some strange shooting results two nights back in an overtime loss at Memphis. Parker finished that game 10-for-21, but he was perfect otherwise (3-for-3 from the 3-point line and 7-for-7 free throws). Prior to Memphis, Parker had gone four-straight games shooting .500 or better from the field.

NOT: Ricky Rubio has played three games for the Wolves since missing four in a row because of back spasms. But he's 1-for-12 since then, including 0-for-6 tonight.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Tim Duncan did not play the fourth quarter, which ended his chance for a triple-double. He ended with a season-high seven blocked shots (nine is his career-best) to go along with his 12 points and nine rebounds. He was 4-for-8 from the floor, which ended a 14-for-41 shooting slump (34 percent) the past three games.

GOOD MOVE: Popovich had great timing for his two technicals and ejection. A group of mostly reserves (Patty Mills, Jackson and Neal, along with starters Danny Green and Tiago Splitter) picked up on the energy and started the 9-0 run that gave the Spurs an insurmountable lead.

BAD MOVE: Nikola Pekovic and Luke Ridnour were a combined 12-for-23 tonight for Minnesota, but they did not play the fourth quarter. Instead, Derrick Williams and Rubio played the entire fourth and were a combined 1-for-11 to finish the game.

ROOKIE WATCH: Alexey Shved got his 15th start of the season for Minnesota, but the Russian rookie had his NBA-worst shooting night by going 0-for-7 in 25 minutes. He did have five assists and no turnovers.

NOTABLE: Minnesota is 0-8 when scoring less than 90 points. ... DeJuan Blair played in only his second game in the last six for San Antonio, his 9 ½ minutes his most since December 31 (Blair was 4-for-5 with nine points and four rebounds tonight). ... Lazar Hayward played for the first time since missing the past two Minnesota games with an illness, and he went 0-for-4 in 8 ½ minutes.

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Monday @ Dallas, Thursday vs. L.A. Clippers, Saturday vs. Houston. For the Spurs, Wednesday vs. Memphis, Friday vs. Golden State, Saturday @ Atlanta.