Balanced Spurs Attack Tops Timberwolves
San Antonio 103, Minnesota 90
MINNEAPOLIS, April 16 (Ticker) -- It's looking more and more like the road through the Western Conference playoffs again will go through San Antonio.
Beno Udrih led five players in double figures with 15 points as the San Antonio Spurs moved closer to clinching the top seed in the West with a 103-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"We need to get some of that funk out," said Spurs superstar Tim Duncan, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes. "We have had some bad games, some losses at home and we got a very good team coming into our house tomorrow (Utah) and we're going to have to gear up and get that win."
San Antonio, which needs only a win or a Dallas loss to secure the top seed, was 9-3 at home in the playoffs last season en route to its third NBA championship.
"The number one seed is important," Duncan said. "Not only for the seed, but for the home-court advantage."
"Two (games) to go and then all the fun starts for 16 teams," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We're glad to get one more out of the way."
There would be no dramatics Sunday after the Spurs dismantled a listless Timberwolves squad playing out the string in its worst season since 1995-96. Minnesota held a 17-15 lead late in the first quarter before Bruce Bowen made a 3-pointer to give San Antonio the lead for good.
"In the first half, we came out with too much respect," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We were back on our heels instead of attacking the way we have the last couple games."
The Spurs, who have won a division crown in four of the last five seasons, used a 22-6 run to close the first half and claim a 56-35 halftime lead. Manu Ginobili and Udrih hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cap a 12-2 burst to open the second half as San Antonio took its largest lead at 68-37.
Playing largely against the Spurs' reserves, the Timberwolves got within 11 points late in the fourth, but no closer.
"It was good to get a rest for some of our players tonight," Duncan said. "But we also want to be on a little bit of a roll going into the playoffs. We have to get the guys in our lineups the right kind of minutes in the right kind of situations. So if we can get that and still get the win, then we're good."
In pulling within a win of matching a franchise record for a season, San Antonio outrebounded Minnesota, 46-29, and shot 51 percent (40-of-78) from the floor.
"I feel bad for Minnesota because they have a lot of pride and they are in a real tough situation with so many guys out," Popovich said. "Obviously, for that reason, it wasn't really a fair fight. We don't take too much from the game other than we stayed healthy and didn't get anyone hurt."
Marcus Banks and Rashad McCants combined to score 45 points for the Timberwolves, who again played without injured stars Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis.
"It is a great learning experience for these guys," Casey said. "We are seeing a lot of growth by Marcus (Banks) and (Rashad) McCants."