SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 14 (Ticker) -- Sam Cassell
is making an emphatic case
that he should be named to his first All-Star team.
NBA TV highlights from|
Cassell scored 10 of his 33 points in the final period as the
Minnesota Timberwolves posted an impressive 100-93 triumph over
the San Antonio Spurs in a battle for first place in the Midwest
added 24 points and Kevin Garnett
chipped in 22
and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won 17 of their
last 20 games and improved their NBA-best road record to 14-6.
With Garnett on the bench with five fouls, Tony Parker
back-to-back 3-pointers to give San Antonio an 83-79 edge with
6:13 to play before Cassell took over. He made a 3-pointer, a
jumper and another shot from the arc to begin a 15-3 run, which
ended on a dunk by Sprewell with 2:26 to play.
"One of us had to step up," Cassell said. "It's either going to
be me or Spree when KG is on the bench. One of us has to step
up and tonight it was me. We don't trip on it on who it's going
"Tonight Sam carried us," Garnett said. "He went out there with
a little surge all by himself, which ended up being the
difference in the game. It gave us the momentum back. He took
the shots, and we knew he was going to take and make them." The
Timberwolves shot 51 percent (39-of-77) and limited the Spurs to
43 percent (37-of-87).
"We contained them with our defense in the first half, but they
got away from us in the second half," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "To beat them, you have to play defense."
contributed 36 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists
for the Spurs, who have lost back-to-back games for the first
time since a season-high four-game skid Nov. 28-Dec. 3.
"Give credit to Minnesota, they shot the ball well down the
stretch," Duncan said. "We are going to watch a lot of film and
tweak the game plan a little bit, but I don't think we are
going to change much."
Duncan, who has struggled from the line this season, made all
four of his free throw attempts in the first half but went just
4-of-11 from the stripe thereafter.
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili
, who had missed five games with lower
back sprain, scored 14 points in 30 minutes.
"I was happy to be back," Ginobili said. "The only thing was
after the first four or five minutes I was out of air, so they
kept putting me in and out. I felt good, though."
Minnesota jumped out to a 15-4 lead before San Antonio scored
the next 11 points to start a 32-12 run, which ended with a
turnaround jumper by Duncan that gave the Spurs a 36-27
advantage with 2:44 left in the half.
The Spurs took a 40-36 lead into the break and opened their
biggest lead, 50-40, on a jumper by Parker 2:48 into the second
half. The Timberwolves countered with a 19-4 run over the next
5½ minutes before the Spurs regained control and took a 68-65
edge into the final period.