Scouting Report: Wolves at Spurs
Minnesota Timberwolves (30-51) at San Antonio Spurs (58-23) — 7:00 PM AT&T Center
Where to Watch: My29
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
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Another Wolves season has come to an end, and this one concludes with a road match against playoff-bound San Antonio. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM on 830 WCCO-AM and My29.
San Antonio Breakdown
Around this time every year, coach Gregg Popovich tends to rest his top contributors in order to freshen up for a playoff run. Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard all sat out on Monday against Golden State with various injuries. Popovich actually told ESPN that if Ginobili was healthy today, he would play against the Wolves; maybe this is a reverse of his usual tactics. Ginobili was only healthy for 22 games this year, and today may serve as a warm-up for him heading into postseason play.
With four starters injured and/or resting, the Wolves will likely face a group that includes DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Danny Green, Cory Joseph and Tiago Splitter. That’s who started on Monday, and although they have lost three of their last four, the Spurs are simply looking ahead to a likely pairing against Houston.
Last Time Out: March 12, 2013
Wolves guard Ricky Rubio had flirted with triple-doubles over the previous two weeks, snagging his often requisite double-digit points and assists while just coming short on his rebounding efforts. He’s come within three rebounds of that milestone in four of his last 11 games heading into Tuesday night.
And against the unlikeliest of opponents, Rubio got the job done.
Rubio was sensational in Minnesota’s 107-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Target Center, logging 21 points, 12 assists and 13 rebounds en route to his first career NBA triple-double. He dazzled with his normal passing flair but also was aggressive getting to the basket and snagged 12 defensive rebounds, all while helping Minnesota facilitate necessary ball movement against a championship-caliber defensive club.
The win tied the largest margin of victory for the Wolves over the Spurs in team history. It ties their 112-88 victory on Feb. 23, 2002.
Minnesota entered tonight’s game shooting 29.3 percent from behind the arc as a team, but they exploded for 12-of-20 shooting from distance against San Antonio.
Luke Ridnour kicked in 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and Derrick Williams added 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
Key Matchup: Danny Green and Luke Ridnour
Earlier in the season, Danny Green came into Target Center and decimated the Wolves by shooting 8-for-12 from outside, a nearly unbelievable rate. He shot 2-for-6 from deep in his next venture against Minnesota, a game where the Spurs lost by 24—tied for the biggest loss all-time to the Wolves. Which Green is going to show up tonight? With Ginobili moved to a sixth man role, his production is crucial heading into the playoffs.
Ridnour has earned his stripes all season. Although being one of the shortest and lightest players on the team, his durability has been unquestioned as he is the only Wolves player to start every single game this year, something he hasn’t accomplished since the 2004-05 season. He’s got one more tall task tonight, as the veteran will try and defend Green, who stands 6-foot-6. But after guarding shooting guards even taller than that all year, this is just another day at the office for Ridnour.
Injury Report presented by TSR Injury Law
As the regular season concludes, the Wolves hope to get center Nikola Pekovic back after missing the last three games with a left calf contusion. He is listed as questionable tonight. Kevin Love, Malcolm Lee and Brandon Roy are all out after undergoing knee surgeries. For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury, while Tim Duncan (knee), Kawhi Leonard (knee) and Tony Parker (neck) are all questionable tonight. Boris Diaw (back) is listed as out for the season.