Scouting Report: Wolves (9-10) vs. Spurs (15-3) | Dec. 4, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (9-10) vs. Spurs (15-3) | Dec. 4, 2013


Timberwolves vs. Spurs | 8:30 PM — Mexico City Arena

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North, NBATV

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

There are a few notable things about this game.

You may have noticed this game is in Mexico City. No, that is not a typo. The Wolves and Spurs will play in Mexico City Arena on Wednesday night as a part of the league’s international initiative.

With players like J.J. Barea, Ricky Rubio and Tony Parker, it’s easy to see why a trip like this makes sense. Unfortunately for the Wolves, though, it’s listed as a home game.

The game is also a late start for Minnesotans, starting at 8:30 p.m. For those fans wanting to get the full experience, the Wolves are hosting a viewing party at Boca Chica in St. Paul. The party will start at 7:30 p.m.

This game is an important one for the Wolves, as they have quite the tough week after trying to bounce back from a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. After the Spurs, it doesn’t get any easier as the team hosts the Miami Heat on Saturday.

As of Wednesday, the Spurs were tied for the best record in the West, sitting at 15-3. The Wolves, at 9-10, are on the outside looking in for the playoffs, sitting 1.5 games back from the eighth seed.

Last Meeting

The Wolves battled the Spurs in their final game of the 2012-13 season and came away with a 108-105 win in San Antonio, despite being without Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love.

Derrick Williams (now with Kings) led Minnesota with 21 points and six rebounds. Chase Budinger led the bench with 15 points, while Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea added 10 each for the second unit. Rubio and Greg Stiemsma (now with Pelicans) both scored 12 points. The Wolves shot 41.4 percent from the 3-point line and forced 17 San Antonio turnovers.

Tim Duncan and Gary Neal (now with Bucks) led San Antonio with 17 points. Duncan also added 14 rebounds – 12 coming on the defensive end. Parker finished with 15 points and eight assists, but was just 3-of-10 from the field. DeJaun Blair (now with Mavericks) had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. The foursome of Cory Joseph, Aron Baynes, Nando De Colo and Manu Ginobili struggled off the bench, shooting a combined 4-of-21.

Wolves Minute

Dec. 4, 2013

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This Week’s Results

Minnesota is coming off of a tough 113-103 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Minnesota led 83-78 going into the final quarter, but Kevin Durant’s squad outscored the Wolves 35-20 in the final quarter to clinch the win.

Kevin Martin led the way against his former squad, scoring 24 points while shooting 4-of-8 from the 3-point line. Pekovic added 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Love joined the double-double club as well, scoring 16 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. Love struggled form the field, though, shooting 4-of-14. Corey Brewer added 10 points.

Previous to that loss, the Wolves fell to Denver at home on Wednesday before beating Dallas on the road Saturday.

The Spurs are coming off a 102-100 thrilling win at home over the Atlanta Hawks thanks to a game-winning shot from Duncan.

Duncan was the only player in the game to score 20 or more points, as he finished with 23 to go along with 21 rebounds. Backup center Boris Diaw led the bench with 16 points. Newly acquired forward Marco Belinelli scored 13 off the bench as well. Tony Parker finished with 15 points while shooting 7-of-11 from the field. Tiago Splitter added 11 points. The Spurs shot a scorching 53.8 percent (42-of-78) from the field.

Previous to that, the Spurs had a tough back-to-back at Orlando before hosting Houston. The Spurs beat Orlando 109-91 on Friday, but fell to Houston 112-106.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Tim Duncan

Fans and media members are quick to dismiss of Duncan’s skills. Sure, he’s in his 17th season and isn’t as effective as he once was, averaging 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season. But as the Toby Keith song goes, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once, as I ever was.” In other words, when Duncan wants to turn it on, he certainly can. That was proven in Wednesday night’s win. Duncan became the oldest player in NBA history to record a 20/20 at 37 years and 221 days old.

If Duncan is ever officially dethroned as the game’s best power forward (save the power forward/center argument for later please), Love appears as if he’d be the next guy up. While Duncan generally stays in the paint, he does have a very nice midrange jump shot, including his nice corner bank that we see so often.

Love likes to stretch the court. This season, he’s averaging 23.7 points, 13.6 rebounds (1st in NBA) and 4.1 assists (career high) per game. He will probably outperform Duncan number wise, but Love will need to be efficient from the field if the Wolves want to snag a victory in Mexico City. He’s shot 36.8 percent or better from the field in just one of his last four games.

Injury Report

The Wolves will be without Budinger (knee) and center Ronny Turiaf (elbow). The Spurs appear to be at full strength.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Spurs
PG Ricky Rubio Tony Parker
SG Kevin Martin Danny Green
SF Corey Brewer Kawhi Leonard
PF Kevin Love Tim Duncan
C Nikola Pekovic Tiago Splitter


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.