To finish with their second consecutive 60-win season, the San Antonio Spurs have to win three of their four remaining regular-season games.

They should have a good chance at getting the first one Friday, visiting a Minnesota Timberwolves team that likely will be missing Kevin Garnett.

Garnett, who has averaged 20.4 points in 43 games against the Spurs, isn't expected to play Friday as doctors examine a right quadriceps injury. He also was absent from Minnesota's 105-88 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

The Timberwolves (32-46) had lost five in a row to the Spurs (57-21) before beating them 103-101 in overtime on Jan. 3 behind Garnett's 27 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.

San Antonio is 6-6 in Minneapolis since the 2001-02 season, but comes in on an impressive run, having gone 22-3 since the All-Star break.

The Spurs have won five straight and 11 of 12, including a 109-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Tim Duncan had 26 points and 13 rebounds while Michael Finley scored 19 points in his 14th start of the season.

The Spurs shot 56 percent from the floor - their third straight game and fifth in the last seven of shooting at least 50 percent.

After Friday's contest, the Spurs visit Dallas on Sunday and Memphis on Monday before closing the regular season at home against Denver on Wednesday.

Duncan said while the team is looking forward to its matchup against the Mavericks, who have the league's best record, Friday's contest is an important one despite Minnesota's record. San Antonio is chasing Phoenix for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

"We have to go through Minny first and make sure we can take care of that game," he said. "Then we walk into Dallas and hopefully feel good about ourselves off of a win."

While San Antonio prepares for the playoffs, the Timberwolves are denying accusations they are trying to tank the season.

Minnesota enters Friday's game tied with Sacramento and New York for the eighth-worst record in the NBA. If the Wolves don't have a pick in the top 10 of the draft, they have to give their selection to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the Sam Cassell-Marko Jaric trade two years ago.

Minnesota has three games left after Friday's contest and the team would not comment on whether Garnett had been shut down for the season.

"I can promise you that is not the case," owner Glen Taylor said when asked if Garnett was shelved to help the Timberwolves' lottery chances. "I did not shut him down."

Minnesota has lost three straight and seven of nine overall, and six straight at the Target Center for its longest home losing streak since a team-record 14-game slide in 1994.

Justin Reed, who averages 1.9 points in 6.1 minutes per game, scored a season-high 17 points in a season-high 23 minutes Wednesday while Craig Smith had 14 points and fellow rookie Randy Foye added 11.

"We're just trying to go out there and play for real," Foye said. "We're trying to win every game. We're not looking at it as just getting minutes, we're looking at it as trying to get quality minutes and trying to get better every possession."


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