GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Spurs - March 12, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: The Wolves dominated this game from the second quarter on and beat the Spurs 107-83 tonight at Target Center. Ricky Rubio led the way with 21 points, 12 assists and 13 boards, earning the 29th triple-double in team history. It's the first triple-double for Minnesota since J.J. Barea last March against the Thunder. Barea, by the way, finished with 17 points and shot 5-of-7 from 3-point range. More analysis, photos, interviews and more coming on Timberwolves.com. MIN 107, SAS 83

Q4 2:39: It took the Spurs five minutes to score in the fourth quarter, and once they got on the board they didn't follow it up with much consistency. Minnesota now has a 25 point lead and lead by as many as 29 this quarter. They are on a roll and Rubio is the ring leader. He's crossing over and scoring like crazy, most notably blowing past Aron Baynes in the paint with a filthy crossover for the two. He's got 21 points, 12 assists and 13 rebounds. As he exits the game for the night, he is getting a huge ovation from the crowd. Nice game for Ricky. MIN 99, SAS 74

Q4 9:45: Alexey Shved looks to be out of his slump, if only for one night. He came in shooting 3-of-24 for nine points in his last three games, and he is 6-of-8 tonight with 16 points. He's 3-of-4 from 3, and his last 3-pointer took about five bounces off the rim before dropping in. Quite a friendly roll for the rookie. Wolves are up 20 with 9:45 left. MIN 80, SAS 60

End Q3: Minnesota continued that momentum they put together in the second into a strong third quarter here at Target Center. They led by as many as 25 points and enter the fourth up 77-60. Even with the Spurs sitting their top guys, this is an impressive feat because this Spurs club without Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Green earlier this year held a seven-point lead on the road against the Heat with three minutes left. The point is these guys know how to play and they're deep. One key stat tonight is the Spurs are shooting 37 percent and have 14 assists on 23 field goals. Not a bad percentage, but San Antonio is averaging 25 assists a night. The Wolves are defending well enough to keep those numbers down tonight. Ricky has 17 points, 10 assists and eight boards. Shved has 13 points off the bench. Derrick Williams has 13 of his own, and Luke Ridnour has 12. MIN 77, SAS 60

Halftime: What a way to end the half. Ricky Rubio took an inbound pass in the back court from Alexey Shved with 4.8 seconds left, brought it coast to coast and hit a runner in the lane off the glass to beat the buzzer. Rubio now has 13 tonight to go with seven assists, and the Wolves are up 15 at the break. Alexey Shved is having a big night, too, scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Ridnour has seven. The Wolves are shooting 22-of-43 from the floor and are 6-of-10 from distance. For the Spurs, Captain Jack has 13 and Danny Green has 10.. MIN 53, SAS 38

Q2 4:48: The Wolves came back in full force. They've outscored the Spurs 34-13 since San Antonio's initial 21-9 lead, and they're doing something tonight that has eluded them so much of this season. They're hitting 3-pointers. Minnesota is now 6-of-8 from distance and is shooting 50 percent overall. Their one area that needs to improve is free throws, as they're shooting 3-of-8 tonight. Alexey Shved has come alive after having a couple tough weeks, and he's 4-of-4 (2-of-2 from 3) and has 10 points off the bench this quarter. Rubio now with 11 points and five assists, and Ridnour still with seven. MIN 43, SAS 34

End Q1: San Antonio started out hot and rolled out a 21-9 lead early in the first quarter, but Minnesota responded and made this a four-point game heading into the second. Using a 15-5 run leading up to a Boris Diaw basket at the buzzer, the Wolves cooled San Antonio down on the offensive end just enough to mount their comeback. Rubio has eight points and five assists already, and Luke Ridnour had seven points. No bench points for the Wolves just yet. San Antonio is getting 10 from Jackson and eight from Green. SAS 28, MIN 24

Q1 7:44: OK, OK we get it Danny Green. We know you can shoot. Green opens up the game 2-of-3 from 3-point range, basically picking up where he left off last time he played Minnesota on Feb. 6 when he finished 8-of-12 from behind the arc. He's got eight and Cory Joseph has four as the Spurs opened up an early 14-4 lead. Luke Ridnour is 2-of-3 and has all four points for the Wolves so far. SAS 14, MIN 4

Starters:
Spurs: PG-Cory Joseph, SG-Danny Green, SF-Stephen Jackson, PF-Matt Bonner, C-Tiago Splitter

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Luke Ridnour, SF-Mickael Gelabale, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Greg Stiemsma

Pregame 6:45 PM: Here is the latest listings I've received for Fox Sports North Plus tonight regarding Comcast, DirecTV and Dish. CLICK HERE for the FSN Plus full channel guide.

Comcast: 694-HD, 13 or 23-SD

DirecTV: 652-1-HD, 652-SD

Dish: 9518-HD, 448-SD

Pregame 6:40 PM: Welcome to Target Center for what is in theory a matchup between the Wolves and the Spurs. Tipoff is set for 7 PM on Fox Sports North Plus and 830 WCCO-AM, but the group on the floor is not exactly a battle of full strength opponents. That’s because the Wolves will again be without Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic (as well as Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger and Malcolm Lee), while the Spurs will play tonight without Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. With the Spurs coming off a game last night against San Antonio, it’s a chance for a couple of the Spurs’ big names to rest, while Parker continues to recover from a sprained ankle.

Parker hasn’t played in the last four games when the injury interrupted another outstanding season for the veteran point guard, but the Spurs continue to chug along thanks to their systematic play. Cory Joseph, younger brother of former Gophers guard Devoe Joseph, has stepped in and served admirably in Parker’s place. He’s averaging 7.6 points and 2.2 assists per game in that span after having not played a minute since Jan. 16.

Parker, on the other hand, was averaging 21.0 points and 7.6 assists when he suffered his injury, both being the second best production in each stat category in his career. In his absence, the Spurs are still moving the ball. They are averaging a league-best 25.0 assists per game as a team, and last night against the powerful Thunder they dished out 25 dimes.

“He’s not going to be Tony Parker,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “I think that Tony was probably in my mind playing better than any point guard in this league at the time for the whole season. He really carried us. But Cory, he’s solid. He’s solid, and he gets us into our sets. But we don’t expect him to score like Tony.”

For the Wolves, the key tonight will again be perimeter play. Minnesota is coming off a 2-for-18 night from 3-point range, and on the flip side the last time the Wolves and Spurs met here at Target Center, San Antonio shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range and Danny Green alone hit eight 3-pointers.

“They’re a great 3-point shooting team,” Adelman said. “And their system is such that they’ve got penetrators and they move the ball. Like I said, they lead the league in assists. It’s not just one guy. It’s not just Tony, it’s the whole team. They get to their spots and their philosophy is look for those threes, and we need to find a way to do it.”

Here are some pregame notes as we get set for tonight’s game:

  • The Wolves trail in the all-time series 25-71, and are 17-31 at home. San Antonio has won the last 16 meetings at Target Center, including a 104-94 win on Feb. 6. The Spurs also claimed a 106-88 victory at AT&T Center on Jan. 13.

  • Ricky Rubio is averaging 12.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 3.0 steals in 34.9 minutes per game over the last 16 games. He has recorded seven point/assist double-doubles over that stretch.

  • Rubio has nine games this season with 4+ steals, with seven of the nine coming in his last 12 games. He had eight games with 4+ steals last season.

  • Derrick Williams is averaging 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds over the last 15 games. He has recorded seven double-doubles this season. Williams has been the Wolves' leading rebounder in five of the last eight games.

  • Mickael Gelabale has started the last five games, averaging 8.5 points, on 58.6% (21-for-36) shooting, and 4.0 rebounds. Over the last two games, he is averaging 16.0 points on 70.0% (14-for-20) shooting.

  • J.J. Barea has scored in double-digits in six of the last seven games, averaging 13.9 points over that stretch.

  • The Wolves have recorded fewer turnovers than their opponent in 8 of the last 9 games, averaging 14.4 turnovers per game, compared to 16.6 for their opponents.

  • At 49-15, San Antonio has the best record in the Western Conference, 2.0 games ahead of Oklahoma City. If the Spurs win tonight it extend their NBA record of consecutive 50+-win seasons to 14th seasons.

  • The Spurs rank in the Top 10 in the NBA in points (4th, 104.8), point differential (2nd, +8.7), field goal percentage (2nd, .490), 3-point field goal percentage (4th, .382), free-throw percentage (4th, .788), assists (1st, 25.2) and steals (5th, 8.27).

  • Tiago Splitter ranks 4th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 59.8% (256-for-428). He has recorded three double-doubles in the last five games, averaging 13.0 points and 8.4 rebounds over that span.

  • Danny Green ranks 5th in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 44.2% (144-for-326). Over the last 10 games he is shooting 52.7% (29-for-55) from long distance. He has made 3+ treys in a game 26 times this season, including a season-high eight vs. Minnesota on Feb. 6.


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