Green's Sharp-Shooting Sends Spurs Past Wolves 104-94
The Spurs didn’t have Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili—but they did have Danny Green.
The San Antonio guard was absolutely blazing from outside tonight, hitting 8-of-12 3-pointers and putting up a 28 total points leading the Spurs to a 104-94 victory on Wednesday night.
“He made all the shots that they needed,” Derrick Williams said. “Every time we brought it to within two or three, he was right there to knock down a big shot. That’s a championship-type team, nothing fazes them.”
Wolves vs Spurs
Green, who reached a new career-high, flourished in the fourth quarter. He hit 4-of-5 perimeter shots and totaled 14 points in the final frame.
“Danny hit some tough shots,” center Greg Stiemsma added. “This is a confident team right now; they execute, they hit shots, they play together.”
The Wolves stuck with the top-ranked team in the West for nearly the entire game, however. There were 21 lead changes, and San Antonio only truly pulled away around the final two minutes.
San Antonio built a six-point lead going into halftime, helped by three of Green’s outside shots. Tony Parker had already collected 15 points along with 13 for Kawhi Leonard.
Minnesota reclaimed the lead in the third, as Nikola Pekovic and Williams had eight and seven points, respectively, in the frame. Williams was visibly more comfortable shooting tonight, as he launched shots from both midrange and long distance with ease.
“Yeah, in the last few games I’ve been struggling a little bit, trying to find my shot,” Williams said. “I just try to stay aggressive. [Player development coach] Shawn Respert’s been helping with that, I’m just trying to stay confident and stay with my shot. It started falling a little bit today.”
The tussle continued into the fourth quarter, where Green continued his offensive onslaught. Between Green and Parker, the Spurs pulled away in the last few minutes and improved on their league-best record.
“I thought we really played pretty well for the most part,” Adelman said. “We just made too many mental mistakes—especially defensively at crucial times in the fourth quarter”
Pekovic led the Wolves tonight, scoring 21 points—including 11 from the free throw line—and grabbing 10 rebounds. Williams had a double-double as well with 15 points and 12 boards, and J.J. Barea also posted 15 points. Ricky Rubio had nine points and 11 assists.
Veteran Tony Parker scored 31 for San Antonio and dished out eight assists. Kawhi Leonard pitched in 19 points and led the Spurs’ rebounding with 10 boards.
Leader of the Pack: Nikola Pekovic
Pekovic did his damage from the free throw line tonight, shooting 11-for-12. He totaled 21 points, and also pulled down 10 boards to give himself his eighth 20 point/10 rebound game of the season.
“That’s what [Pekovic] does, that’s what we need him to do,” Stiemsma said of his fellow post player. “Continue to be physical, try to get calls and get to the free throw line as much as he can.”
Highlight of the Night
Around 4:20 in the third quarter, Luke Ridnour snagged a rebound and raced down court. He proceeded to perfectly draw his defender off the ball near the perimeter, cross over, and finish hard in the lane. It was a smooth bucket, and it set the table for the Wolves to tie the score just two minutes later.
The Numbers Game
“We have to play together. We have to find a way to make plays. I don't know, you tell me—how many layups did we miss at the basket again? We have to finish plays."—coach Adelman
The Wolves wrap up their six-game home stand on Friday when they host the New York Knicks. After that, they take a two-game road trip to Memphis and Cleveland on the 10th and 11th, respectively.