Timberwolves Stun Spurs

by Mark Remme
Web Editor
@markremme

The Minnesota Timberwolves had two rotation players and two starters out of Tuesday’s game against the defending Western Conference champions.

It was supposed to be a blowout. The San Antonio Spurs came into the game winning 20 of their last 21 games.

Not so fast. The Wolves played with a lot of heart and energy in the the Mexico City makeup game against the Spurs at the Target Center, defeating them 110-91, despite being shorthanded.

“Yeah, it was worth the wait,” said Wolves Rick Adelman after being reminded the teams were scheduled to play back on Dec. 4. “It’s a game that set the tone for the rest of the week.”

The Spurs were without point guard Tony Parker, while the Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin,
Box Scores and Gallery Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad.

The Wolves led 27-19 after the first, thanks to a hot start from Ricky Rubio. Rubio started off 4-of-4 and led the team with nine points. After being named March’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month, Gorgui Dieng was well on his way to a double-double, finishing the first 12 minutes with five points and five rebounds.

Minnesota continued to look like the superior team in the second, taking a 20-point lead thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Corey Brewer. That was right after Dieng swatted a shot and Brewer had the hoop and the harm.

The Wolves led 54-34 at the break behind Brewer’s 12 points. Rubio added 11 while the Wolves shot 42.6 percent from the field. Tim Duncan led San Antonio with nine points and five rebounds.

The Wolves continued their hot play in the second half and the lead eventually got too large that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich took out big man Tim Duncan for much of the half.

Minnesota is now 3-1 in its last four games and its aggressiveness has a lot to do with that. The teams that the Wolves have beat aren’t slouches either: The Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and Spurs.

The Wolves were led by Rubio’s 23 points. Kevin Love added 19 points and 12 boards. Brewer scored 14 points and added a game-high four steals. Dieng finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Luc Mbah a Moute and Ronny Turiaf led the team’s bench with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Timberwolves Top Performers of the Night

No Spurs player scored more than 13 points. Boris Diaw and Cory Joseph each scored 13 points. Kawhi Leonard and Matt Bonner scored 11 each, while Duncan finished with 10 points.

Minnesota is now 39-38 this season.

Leader of the Pack: Ricky Rubio
Rubio was aggressive from the get-go and with 23 points, he finished just two points of tying his career-high mark of 25. He also added a game-high seven assists, to go with two rebounds and a steal.

“Tonight what I liked about him is that he came off and he looked for the 15-foot jumper, he was under control,” Adelman said. “... He did a nice job of running the team.”

Don’t Blink Highlight of the Night

Things were going right for Corey Brewer AKA #BrewersBlend in the first half. The former Florida star hit a fadeaway 3-pointer as time expired from the left corner giving the Wolves their biggest lead of the night, 54-34. It was Brewer’s game-high 12th point of the night.

The Numbers Game

  • Tonight marked Dieng’s sixth double-double of the season and seventh double-digit rebounding game of the season. 
  • Love posted his league-leading 61st double-double of the season. 
  • Minnesota allowed 34 first half points, the second-least points scored by a Wolves opponent in a half this season (Utah, 23 in the first half on Jan. 18).
  • San Antonio’s 34 points were the least points they’ve scored all season in a half. 

Quotable
“I don’t know. That’s a question that everybody need to answer. I guess for myself try our best as a team, sometimes that’s just how the NBA is. We came out and played D and finished.” - Wolves center Gorgui Dieng on his team winning three out of its last four games.
Next Up

The Wolves stay at home as they host the Chicago Bulls tomorrow at 7 p.m. Minnesota then hosts the Houston Rockets on Friday at 7 p.m. as well. Both games will be air on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

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