Scouting Report: Wolves at Spurs
Wolves Editorial Associate
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Wolves (16-17) at Spurs (28-11) — 6:00 PM AT&T Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
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Up by as much as 18 points Friday night, the Wolves regressed in the second half and gave up a 104-92 Western Conference loss to the New Orleans Hornets. New Orleans outscored Minnesota 30-15 in the third quarter, and contributions from bench players Ryan Anderson (15 points) and Jason Smith (14) were enough to give the Hornets the final edge.
Now the Wolves travel to San Antonio, where they will face off against the third-best team in the West in the Spurs. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
San Antonio Breakdown
Point guard Tony Parker runs the Spurs and is enjoying his best year scoring since 2009 with an average of 19.5 points per game in addition to dishing out 7.1 assists per game. Longtime teammate Tim Duncan lines up at power forward, and although at age 36 he is not putting up numbers like he used to, he is still very effective with 17.2 PPG and 9.7 boards per game. Manu Ginobili has spent most of the last two seasons coming off the bench, and he’s doing it this year while still placing third in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Other key contributors include Gary Neal (10.4 PPG), Danny Green (9.8 PPG) and Tiago Splitter (9.6 PPG).
San Antonio’s offense is held together by veterans on the older side of 30, but they are clicking on all cylinders so far. Sitting third in the West, the Spurs are averaging the league’s third-best team scoring average (104.8 PPG) and the second-best shooting rate from the field (.483). When you consider they’re also ranked fifth in total rebounding and second in steals, it’s easy to see why the Spurs are experiencing so much success this season.
Last Time Out: March 21, 2012
Although San Antonio lost point guard Tony Parker to a hamstring strain, the squad still went on to defeat the Wolves 116-100 on March 21.
Several Minnesota players had solid games, including double-doubles from Kevin Love (17 points, 12 rebounds) and J.J. Barea (18 points, 11 assists). Bench forward Anthony Tolliver added 16 of his own, but the Wolves trailed 32-17 at one point in the first quarter and played catch-up for the rest of the game.
Tim Duncan was the primary contributor for San Antonio, scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 boards. Kawhi Leonard, Steven Jackson and Gary Neal all scored 16 points for the Spurs, who advanced to 30-14 on the season.
Key Matchup: Tony Parker and Luke Ridnour
Sure, there are point guards in the NBA who are more athletic or better shooters than Tony Parker. But you won’t find many with better acumen for the game or a better connection with a big man. Parker and Tim Duncan have been together for a whopping 11 seasons—or, since the 30-year-old Parker was just 19. The pair has helped bring three championships (2003, 2005, 2007) to San Antonio, making them one of the most consistently successful teams of the 2000’s. And, most importantly, they haven’t fallen off yet. Parker is still leading the scoring effort for his team, and he has helped guide the franchise to the third-best record in the highly competitive Western Conference.
Luke Ridnour is no stranger to Parker’s game. A nine-year veteran, Ridnour has spent enough time in the league where nothing Parker can do will surprise him. But will Ridnour be able to stop it? Parker can impact the game both with his scoring and with his passing. On the other end, Ridnour was Minnesota’s top scorer against New Orleans with 20 points on 50 percent shooting. Can he keep it up?
The Timberwolves have been without J.J. Barea for the past two games with back spasms, which kept him out of the Oklahoma City and New Orleans contests. He is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Minnesota announced yesterday that guard Malcolm Lee will undergo two surgeries next week, one on his right knee and another on his right hip, and will likely be done for the season. On the sidelines, coach Rick Adelman isn’t expected to be with the team tonight in San Antonio. Coach Terry Porter will continue filling in for Adelman in his absence.
San Antonio has no players listed on the injury report headed into tonight’s game.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||Tony Parker|
|SG||Alexey Shved||Danny Green|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Kawhi Leonard|
|PF||Dante Cunningham||Tim Duncan|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Tiago Splitter|