Parker, Ginobili Lead Spurs to Fifth Straight
San Antonio 83, Minnesota 77
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- There once was a time when the San Antonio Spurs could not survive a sub-par performance by Tim Duncan. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have made those days a distant memory.
Parker scored 23 points and Ginobili added 21 off the bench as the Spurs held off the Minnesota Timberwolves, 83-77, for their fifth straight win.
Bruce Bowen added a season-high 14 points for the Spurs, who had very little trouble compensating for a poor performance from Duncan and won for the seventh time in eight games.
The superstar power forward registered his league-leading 25th double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. But he scored just two points in the first half and finished 5-of-19 from the field.
"I know he has a lot of moves to the right, but he can go left or right," Minnesota center Michael Olowokandi said. "He can also shoot the jump hook. All you can do is move your feet and keep your body in front of him when you play him."
However, the international backcourt of Parker and Ginobili more than picked up the slack, repeatedly getting inside the defense for easy baskets.
"It's either feast or famine," Wolves coach Dwane Casey said. "We did a good job with Duncan. We tried to cut off one thing and we gave up another."
Parker, a Frenchman bidding for his first All-Star berth, made 11-of-20 shots and added seven assists. Ginobili, a native of Argentina and a 2005 All-Star, sank 7-of-13 shots and made four steals.
"Down the stretch, Manu and Tony made some plays and Tim got aggressive," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That was basically the game."
The Spurs limited the Timberwolves to 39 percent (29-of-74) shooting and improved to 5-0 since Ginobili returned from an eight-game absence due to a sprained foot. They are 16-1 at home and visit Phoenix on Saturday night.
"I'm not worried about playing in a back-to-back," Ginobili said. "I've only been playing about 20 minutes a game or so since I've been back."
Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 17 rebounds for Minnesota, which fell to 0-2 against San Antonio this season. Garnett battled foul trouble in the second half and did not have a basket in the fourth quarter.
Duncan opened the fourth quarter with a jumper to give the Spurs their largest lead at 64-56. But a basket by Olowokandi and a 3-pointer and jumper by Wally Szczerbiak cut the deficit to 69-68 with 6:22 to go.
Parker and Ginobili responded with baskets, and Ginobili - who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter - added two free throws for a 75-68 bulge with 4:13 remaining.
"You always want to try and be aggressive, especially when we haven't been hitting shots," Ginobili said.
The Wolves closed to 77-72 with 2:51 left on a jumper by Troy Hudson, who scored eight points. But Duncan answered with a 19-footer 20 seconds later, and it remained at least a two-possession game thereafter.
Garnett picked up his fifth foul with 3:48 left in the third quarter, when the Spurs took the lead for good.