The Wolves have now lost three-straight games as this four-game road trip has not been kind to our Minnesota Timberwolves. It'll mercilessly come to an end tomorrow night in Dallas as the Wolves will look to end it 1-3 (with losses to OKC, NOH and now SAS).
Minnesota got a boost as J.J. Barea & Lazar Hayward back from injuries (back spasms & a sinus infection). J.J. has a slightly herniated disc in his back, he received an epidural injection in his back. We'll see how he looks tomorrow in Dallas. Lazar had a sinus infection that kept him out of Friday's game in New Orleans, he returned today to play 9 minutes off the bench.
The Wolves ran into a Spurs team with a great starting five and maybe even a better second unit! The Spurs bench poured in 55 points on the night (they had 32 by halftime). The Wolves bench did a decent job themselves (scoring 39).
The Wolves kept it very close all night. Minnesota was outscored in every quarter, but after three quarters of play, the Wolves were down by just seven points and were looking for their first win at the AT&T Center since the 2003-04 season! Unfortunately a couple of Spurs caught fire in the final quarter. Tiago Splitter scored 8 of his 10 points in the fourth and Gary Neal added 10 of his 15.
Everytime the Wolves would string together a run and get the lead down to 4-6 points, the Spurs would make a big run to jump back ahead by double digits. The Spurs made one last rally in the last few minutes to push the lead to 19 points and ultimately finish off the Wolves for their 16th home win of the season.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers in this one...
Pek played under 30 minutes for the third game in a row, which still puzzles me (unless the hip strain continues to bother him or worse yet, Kahn is working on a trade). Nonetheless, Pek was effective as usual in limited minutes, scoring 14 points (8 of which came in the second quarter).
J.J. Barea returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with back spasms and showed why he's so valuable to this squad. With his slashing ability as well as having another shooter on the floor, he's certainly a big part of this Wolves team. J.J. did finish with 15pts, but struggled a bit shooting the ball finishing just 1-for-5 from deep (though the majority of those came in the fourth quarter when the Wolves were hoisting up desperation threes in an attempt to cut into that big double-digit deficit). He also showed a bit of rust, turning the ball over 5 times--can be expected from a guy with a herniated disc in his back.
Kirilenko had a solid all-around game. He didn't light it up on the offensive end, however he came up with a number of steals and the shots he did put up--a lot of them found bottom. Unfortunately, the Wolves need more from him offensively with so few options.
Tony Parker played just 29 minutes and hardly at all in the fourth (if any) but still finished with 20pts as he sliced and diced through the lane routinely in the first three quarters to tally 20pts on the night. He got going early as 10 of his 20 came in the first quarter.
Gary Neal got hot late and hit a number of big three point shots to boost the Spurs lead in that final quarter.
Tim Duncan continues to defy old age. He was threatening a triple-double: 12pts, 9reb, 7blks! Five of those blocks came in the first quarter alone! Timmy was as impressive as ever and I don't see any reason he won't be in the League for a number of years more.
MISC. STATS: Andrei Kirilenko tied a season-high with 4 offensive rebounds.....Ricky Rubio tied a season-high with his 6 field goal attempts and 22 minutes played.....Alexey Shved finished with 2 steals, this is the 11th game this season that he's had 2 steals in one game (and ties a season-high).....Lazar Hayward tied season-highs with his 4 field goal attempts and 1 three-point attempt, he also set new season-highs with 2 defensive rebounds, 2 total rebounds and 2 steals (those two steals also ties a career-high for the fifth time in his career).....
KEY STATS: The Spurs shot 56.3% from the field, out-rebounded the Wolves by a +5, +8 on assists, a +22 in fast break points, +20 in points in the paint, +16 in bench production and forced 16 turnovers for 22 points! I think it's clear why the Spurs won this one!
MISC. STATS: The Wolves' 10 personal fouls is a new season-low and their 24 defensive rebounds is the second-lowest of the season.....The Spurs set new season-highs for a Wolves opponent in field goals made (45), field-goal percentage (56.3%) and fast break points (32), they also tied a season-high (for a MIN opponent) with their 31 assists. Their 13 blocks are the second-most for a Wolves opponent and their 106 points ties the second-most for a MIN opponent.....
The Wolves will be back in action tomorrow evening in Dallas vs. the Mavericks. That one tips at 7:30pmCT, expect a full gameday preview before then! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!