Well, here we are again. We've played the Wolves three times already, and tonight marks the merciful conclusion of the season series. Our problems with these guys are well-documented, but they haven't been able to take us down... yet. Let's just hope for a sweep, and get this thing over with. We've got a couple of much tougher contests coming up later this week, so a win tonight would be most welcome.
Super-hack preview beyond the fold.
For your listening pleasure
Here's a tune from my favorite defunct British band:
Let's do it.
San Antonio Spurs @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Where: Target Center
When: 01/11/2011, 7:00pm Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: Fox Sports Southwest
By the Numbers
PG: Tony needs to dominate Fisher. And it'd be nice if he could slow Ridnour down, too.
SG: Yeah, there's really no question about this one. Manu > Johnson.
SF: Beasley is questionable after tweaking his ankle in the last game, but I'm operating under the assumption that he'll be back for this one. RJ had a good game on Sunday, and I can only hope that RJ 2.0 makes a return, as he's been missing a bit lately.
PF: Love is basically Blair 3.0. Sorry Dejuan, but this is not your best matchup, especially considering the goose egg you put up in the points column last time out. Anything you could contribute tonight would be nice.
C: Ever since Darko had a great game in the first matchup of the season, he's struck fear in the hearts of some Spurs fans. I'll explain below why this is foolhardy, but Timmy is obviously the better player.
Despite an off night from leading 6th man candidate George Hill, and a shorter rotation, the Spurs bench still outscored Minny's 41-36 on Sunday. If Mr. IUPUI is back on his game tonight, the margin won't be that close.
Remember the 2nd time we played Minnesota this season, and Rambis didn't get his team to commit its remaining "foul to give" in the final minute, and the ensuing Spurs possession resulted in an easy bucket? Yeah.
These guys seem to pose a major matchup problem for the Spurs, but the Spurs always seem to overcome it in the waning moments of the game.
Three close wins in a row over these guys, and I fail to see how we could not be in their heads at this point.
Let's extend the current win streak going in to our game in Milwaukee(who probably want revenge) tomorrow night, followed by a crucial upcoming homestand.
Key to the Game
Share the ball - One recent trend I would like to see the Spurs reverse is their lack of ball movement. They've dropped from 5th to 8th in assist rate over the last week, and I haven't seen the level of trust in each other that they seemed to have earlier in the season. No better time than the present to re-establish that trust.
Draw their offense inside - As Artis Gilmore noted in the last preview:
T'Wolves lead the league in shot attempts at 10 feet or less. They are also at the bottom of the league when it comes to shooting % from this range.
This may seem counter-productive with the way Darko torched us in the first meeting(10-17), but he's been 7-26 in the two games since. The numbers are on our side, and I much prefer Darko "abusing" us rather than their 3-point shooters.
Collect their misses - Our defense was pretty good in the last game, holding the Wolves to less than 40% shooting, but... defensive rebounding has been our achilles' heel in 3 of the last 4 games(Celts suck at O-boards, so that one was the exception). Another trend that needs reversing, especially since rebounding is esentially a hustle/effort stat.
WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]
As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.
Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. You can also shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org(IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.