One week into the season, the success-starved Minnesota Timberwolves have already won a game while the four-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs remain winless.
The Spurs hope to continue their recent success over the Timberwolves and finally record their first victory of 2008-09 when the teams meet on Wednesday night at the Target Center.
San Antonio (0-3) lost 98-81 at home to Dallas on Tuesday and now looks to avoid opening with four consecutive losses for the first time since doing so in the 1973-74 ABA season - the Spurs first season in San Antonio after playing in Dallas as the Chaparrals.
"Uncharted territory for us,'' said Spurs star Tim Duncan, who had 19 points against the Mavericks. "We've played some bad basketball so far, to say he least.''
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 22 points for the Spurs, who trailed by as many as 18 in the first half.
"(Dallas) came out with a lot of energy, they shot the ball well and executed,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We did the opposite, and that put us in the hole.''
San Antonio continues to struggle without injured guard Manu Ginobili (ankle), last season's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game who is out until December.
While the Spurs are averaging 92.7 points, they're allowing 101.5 per game. Traditionally one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Spurs were third in the league last season giving up 90.6 points per contest.
The Spurs did receive a boost on Tuesday as forward Fabricio Oberto played for the first time this season after missing the first two games with an irregular heartbeat. Oberto has been a solid presence for the Spurs, having played in all 82 games and averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.
Facing Minnesota (1-2) could be what San Antonio needs to end its skid. The Spurs have won five straight over the Timberwolves, outscoring them by an average of 13.4 points.
Duncan, who is averaging 26.0 points and 10.3 rebounds to start the season, has enjoyed consistent success versus the Timberwolves, averaging 20.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in 40 career games against them.
Minnesota scored two points in the final 5 minutes to fall 88-85 at Oklahoma City on Sunday in a game it led by as many as 12 points. The Timberwolves were outrebounded 50-38 and went 3-for-12 from 3-point range.
"It's a game we're supposed to have won,'' said Al Jefferson, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double. "We gave up 25 points second-chance. That's why it hurts so bad. ... it was just a game we had in the bag and we should have won.''
Though scoring has been a problem for the Timberwolves in the past after averaging 95.6 points last season, they are looking to improve on their 89.3 average through their first three contests.
Jefferson is averaging 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds overall and 22.5 points in his last six games versus San Antonio.
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