SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 4 (Ticker) --
The frustrations of two of the two power forwards in the Western Conference came to a head at the same time.
Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett were ejected following a shouting match early in the third quarter, but it hardly mattered as the San Antonio Spurs routed the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves, 113-83.
The Spurs and Timberwolves are among the top teams in the Western Conference but both have struggled in recent weeks. San Antonio had lost six of its previous nine while Minneosta had dropped five of seven, raising the frustration levels of the normally mild-mannered Duncan and the already fiery Garnett.
NBATV highlights from Wolves-Spurs:
Antonio Daniels glides in for two against the Wolves.
D. Clarke Evans
The altercation took place after Spurs rookie Tony Parker was fouled by Rasho Neseterovic while driving to the basket with 9:49 left in the third quarter. Parker bumped Garnett as he landed and the 6-11 forward shoved the point guard in the back lightly.
Duncan confronted Garnett, who went to nose-to-nose with his fellow All-Star and began screaming. Both were assessed technicals and separated but continued the shouting match moments later and were ejected.
"The situation got out of hand," said Garnett, who collected eight points and six rebounds before being tossed. "I should have walked away from (garbage) like that. My focus is trying to turn this thing around. As a team we haven't been playing at a level we're accustomed to. My focus is not on Duncan right now."
Garnett, who did most of the talking during the squabble, also had the most to say after the game as Duncan chose not to address the media.
"Tonight, it was two guys who were competing who exchanged some words. It's as simple as that," Garnett said. "Tim had words, I had words and the refs had to do what they felt like was the best thing to stay in control of the game."
"I was really surprised Tim was ejected," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought he was in total control. I thought he walked away from the situation. You at least have to say it was fair that it was Duncan and Garnett that got tossed. Garnett and our 12th man or Duncan and their 12th man and I'd be a little hot. But it was pretty even."
The ejections hardly mattered as the Spurs had amassed a 60-33 lead after a huge first half. San Antonio held Minnesota to a season-low 29 points before halftime and seized control with a 20-2 run bridging the first and second quarters.
The Spurs had a 22-18 lead with 44 seconds left in the first quarter before Duncan had a dunk and Antonio Daniels capped the period with a three-point play for a 27-18 advantage.
San Antonio scored 15 of the first 17 points in the second and took a 42-20 lead on a basket by Duncan with 6:59 remaining. The Timberwolves never got closer than 21 thereafter and the Spurs led by as many as 30 in the second half.
"It was a great win because we beat a really good team," Popovich said. "David (Robinson) and Tim really set the tone for us, as they should."
Duncan had 13 points and nine rebounds before getting ejected and Robinson collected 13 points and 15 rebounds. Daniels finished with 13 points for San Antonio, which snapped a four-game losing streak at the Alamodome.
The Spurs shot 51 percent (41-of-80), including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, and limited Minnesota to 38 percent (33-of-86) shooting.
Gary Trent scored 16 points off the bench to lead the Timberwolves, who has lost five of their last six road games. Joe Smith and Chauncey Billups scored 10 points apiece.
All-Star Wally Szczerbiak, the league's sixth-best 3-point shooter, was held to 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and did not have an attempt from beyond the arc.