Notebook: Timberwolves 108, Spurs 95



Posted Apr 18, 2013 12:11 AM

By Tim Price, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Derrick Williams scored 21 points, and five other Timberwolves scored in double figures as Minnesota sent the San Antonio Spurs into the playoffs on a down note in a 108-95 victory on Wednesday at AT&T Center.

The Spurs lost seven of 10 to finish the regular season. To get a true guide as to how poorly San Antonio is doing is difficult, though. Tim Duncan, who scored 17 points and had 14 rebounds in 27 ½ minutes tonight, missed two of those final 10 games. Tony Parker missed four of those games, Kawhi Leonard missed three and Manu Ginobili didn't play in any of them until tonight. Even starting center Tiago Splitter was held out tonight. All are expected to play more of a routine playoff schedule starting this weekend.

The Timberwolves (31-51) were without Nikola Pekovic (left calf contusion), but they limited the Spurs (58-24) to less than 42-percent shooting and forced six more turnovers.

QUOTABLE: "We're in the playoffs. We haven't played well in the last couple of games, but we're in the playoffs. We'll worry about the concerns later. Right now, we're excited about finding out who we're going to play."

-- Tim Duncan

THE STAT: The Spurs took 15 of the first 17 free throws of the game, and they went 20-for-20 in the first half while leading 61-56. But San Antonio did not get to the foul line for the next 15 ½ minutes (they were the only two free throws the Spurs took in the second half) and were outscored 32-19 during that span.

TURNING POINT: The Spurs led by five at halftime, but Minnesota scored 21 of the next 34 points as Greg Stiemsma took over. The second-year center out of Wisconsin went 5-for-5 (four on outside jumpers and the other on a driving slam dunk through the lane), had three steals and a blocked shot. By the time that was over, the Spurs pulled Duncan and Parker and settled in for the playoffs.

QUOTABLE II: "Our guys will finish on a positive note. A lot of guys contributed tonight. We had our struggles this year, but I think the guys learned a lot, too."

-- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman

HOT: Ricky Rubio went 3-for-19 in his first two games against San Antonio this season, but he shot 13-for-27 in the final two games in the season series including 3-for-5 from the 3-point line tonight.

NOT: Parker went 1-for-10 in his previous game Sunday in a loss against the Lakers in L.A., and combined with his 3-for-10 shooting tonight he's 4-for-20 in his final two games of the regular season. Parker did go 9-for-9 from the free-throw line tonight and finished the season 28-for-28 in his final four games

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Duncan turns 37 next week, yet he'll go into the playoffs off his best season in three years (17.8 points per game and 9.94 rebounds). He had a double-double in his last two games (23 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers in his previous game).

GOOD MOVE: When the Spurs removed Duncan and Parker from the game and allowed five reserves to finish the game, the Timberwolves essentially matched with a reserve unit with the exception of Stiemsma and Williams. In the fourth quarter, J.J. Barea, Chase Budinger, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham played all 12 minutes, and Minnesota outscored the Spurs 28-19 to end the game.

BAD MOVE: Usually a spinning, unopposed slam dunk right in front of the embarrassed home team's bench is not a good move. That's exactly what Williams did after the Timberwolves got a loose ball deep in the Spurs end of the court. It gave Minnesota a 71-67 lead with 6:15 to go in the third quarter, but the Spurs threw in the towel less than four minutes later by taking Duncan and Parker out of the game for the rest of the night.

ROOKIE WATCH: Shved finished with six points and three assists for Minnesota, and he completed the season ninth in scoring among rookies with an 8.7 points per game average.

NOTABLE: The Timberwolves snapped a 16-game losing steak in San Antonio. They had not won here since January 2004. ... This is the second time in nine seasons that the Spurs were unable to win the season series against Minnesota. ... Ginobili is shooting less than 30 percent (21-for-73, 28.8 percent) over his last nine games. He was 1-for-4 tonight while playing almost 12 minutes, all in the first half.

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, end of season. For the Spurs, playoffs (TBA).