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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves

The Spurs tee off a back-to-back by taking on the T-Wolves in the Target Center. Will Minnesota's youth be enough to challenge a San Antonio team still looking to find its rhythm?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
November 21, 2014, 7:00 PM Spurs Time

The last few years, injuries, bad luck, and a loaded Western Conference marred the chances of a solid Minnesota team to make the postseason and keep alive any hope of retaining their star power forward, Kevin Love. As we all know, Love was sent off to Cleveland this summer, and so far this year many of the same issues have resurfaced, although -- given the team's entering a new rebuilding stage -- perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Three starters are currently out for the young T-Wolves, leaving coach Flip Saunders with few options on a roster that wasn't too promising to begin with. Ricky Rubio is out with an ankle injury, Nikola Pekovic has a wrist sprain, and new acquiree Thaddeus Young is expected to miss the next couple of games, as well.

As a result, what you have with these Wolves might very well remind you of a pickup team you once faced at the local rec center: the lineups feel slapped together; the positions don't really matter, and the chemistry simply isn't there. They're young, eager, and able to string together the odd run, but veteran teams like San Antonio shouldn't have a problem coming into town and taking care of business.

On Wednesday  the Wolves feasted on a New York Knicks team on the end of a back-to-back. It was just the third win for them, although they've also had a few close losses to start the year -- common for younger teams, and an issue that defined the Kevin Love era.

Kevin Martin lit up the Knicks to the tune of 37 points on 14 of 20 shooting, as the Wolves rolled out an unconventional starting five of Martin, Mo Williams, Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Williams has never been a traditional point guard, Wiggins still doesn't know what he is, and Muhammad certainly isn't a power forward, but the lineup did the job against a Knicks squad that is yet to figure things out and was playing with a hobbled Carmelo Anthony.

San Antonio should present a much different challenge to Minnesota, who still hasn't beaten a team in its own conference. The Spurs not only have a significant advantage in the paint but should be able to create points off the dribble by exploiting the on-ball defense of Williams and Martin.

Perennial Spurs-killer Williams, who came over this summer via free agency, has had to assume the starting point guard spot after the injury to Ricky Rubio and the jettisoning of J.J. Barea. Mo is shooting just 37% on the year and averaging less than 8 points per game, which means he's ripe to go off for 25 tonight.

Even so, it shouldn't matter. The Wolves will be overmatched at every aspect of this game, and even an incomplete Spurs team (Marco Belinelli and Matt Bonner are still questionable as of this writing) should have no problem dispatching them. The shots will be there, and even average execution on the offensive end should produce enough points for San Antonio to win comfortably.

Of course anything can happen in the NBA, and the Spurs can ensure they're in a position to win by limiting turnovers and making sure the Wolves aren't able to push the pace of the game. With guys like Wiggins and Corey Brewer, Minnesota can generate easy points on the break, and a complacency could spell disaster for the Spurs. , who will either win this game by 20 or play down to Minnesota's level and drop an easy one. I don't really see this going anywhere in between, but the smart money's on the former.

Matchup to watch: Danny Green against Kevin Martin. Martin is one of the few guys who can light it up for Minnesota, but his porous defense means that Danny will be in a position to leave his imprint on both ends of this game. I'd like to see Verde on Martin as much as possible and, if he can nullify his scoring output, it will make things that much easier for San Antonio to put this game away early.


San Antonio Spurs (7-4)

Minnesota Timberwolves (3-7)

November 21, 2014

Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

7:00 PM CDT


Radio: WOAI 1200AM


Tony Parker


Mo Williams

Danny Green


Kevin Martin

Kawhi Leonard


Andrew Wiggins

Boris Diaw


Shabazz Muhammad

Tim Duncan


Gorgui Dieng

Prediction: Spurs by 18

For the Timberwolves' perspective, visit Canis Hoopus.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 |