Notebook: Spurs vs. Timberwolves: 12/03/10
By Tim Price, for NBA.com
Posted Saturday December 4, 2010 12:16AM
THE FACTS: For the second time in nine days, the San Antonio Spurs overcame a double-digit deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. This time the Spurs got 20-point games from Tim Duncan (22 points), Tony Parker (20) and reserve George Hill (20) and rallied from a 15-point deficit starting the fourth quarter to defeat Minnesota 107-101 on Friday night at AT&T Center. San Antonio (16-3) trailed by 21 at Minnesota on Nov. 24 but won that one in overtime. The Timberwolves (4-15) have lost six in a row.
QUOTABLE: "[We weren't] able to execute in critical junctures of the ballgame, and that's what hurt us -- not having the closer type that we can all trust to do the right things at the right time." -- Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis
THE STAT: The Spurs forced the Timberwolves into seven fourth-quarter turnovers and scored 14 points off the mistakes. San Antonio won the fourth quarter 36-15 after failing to close out any of the previous three quarters. The Spurs were outscored a combined 25-7 during the final two minutes of each of the first three quarters, including an 11-0 Minnesota run to close out the third.
TURNING POINT: Michael Beasley was 12-for-21 until he injured his right ankle with the Timberwolves ahead 87-73 with 10 � minutes left in the game. Though Beasley came back with his team still ahead (93-87) with 6:19 to go, his absence was enough to throw Minnesota out of rhythm. Beasley finished the fourth quarter missing all four of his shots from the floor.
QUOTABLE II: "I think [coach Gregg Popovich] probably got everybody fired up. I think the players kind of knew he wasn't very happy and wanted to come in and make him happy to end the game." -- Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer, who took over on the San Antonio bench after Popovich was ejected with about a minute to go in the third quarter
HOT: Hill hit three shots in the fourth quarter, and each of them came following Minnesota turnovers.
NOT: Darko Milicic finished 2-for-10 from the field, failed to make it to the foul line and scored four points in 25 minutes. He was pitiful late when he passed up a shot and made a bad pass back out that ended up as a turnover when Minnesota was ahead by nine, had a chance at an offensive rebound but was whistled for a loose-ball foul when he was caught pushing off, and fouled out with 3:15 left and Minnesota ahead by four. That one was a stupid foul when he went out and knocked down Manu Ginobili away from the basket, so Ginobili went to the foul line and made his eighth and ninth consecutive free throws of the night to trim the Wolves' lead to two.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Kevin Love had his double-double at halftime. He ended with 25 points and 18 rebounds and contributed three assists. Since his clunker game against the Lakers (0-of-7, no points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes), Love's last five games have seen him almost 23 points and almost 19 rebounds.
GOOD MOVE: With his team trailing by nine, Popovich decided he'd seen enough. He argued for a traveling call against Minnesota, but all referee Marc Davis would do was T him twice. The Timberwolves continued their 11-0 run to finish the quarter, but the Spurs hit 16-for-17 free throws in the fourth.
BAD MOVE: The Timberwolves made bad moves just about every time they came up with an offensive rebound, and there were plenty of opportunities because they outrebounded San Antonio 24-8 on the offensive end. Yet they went 5-of-18 on second-chance opportunities, ended up with 19 more shots and still lost.
ROOKIE WATCH: Wesley Johnson committed the foul on a 3-point attempt that allowed San Antonio's Gary Neal to go to the free-throw line and make three shots to send the last game between these teams to overtime, where the Spurs won. He didn't make a mistake like that Friday, but he wasn't that helpful either. He was 1-for-7 from the floor, scored four points and had as many turnovers.
NOTABLE: This was the first of a six-game homestand for San Antonio. In fact, the Spurs play nine of their next 10 and 11 of their next 14 at AT&T Center. Timberwolves reserve Anthony Tolliver, who played his rookie season in San Antonio, suffered a right medial collateral tendon sprain in the first half.
UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Saturday vs. Cleveland, Monday @ New York, Wednesday vs. Oklahoma City. For the Spurs, Sunday vs. New Orleans, Wednesday vs. Golden State, Friday vs. Atlanta.