The Spurs announced before the game that San Antonio would not only be without Coach Gregg Popovich but also Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker -- the first two for rest, and the last because of a toe contusion. Kevin Martin is still not on the active roster, and Matt Bonner and Rasual Butler still are. Short-handed, coming off a poor performance in a loss to Indiana the night before, if Minnesota ever wanted a chance to knock off the Spurs, it was Tuesday.
Newly acquired veteran point guard Andre Miller got his first start of his Silver and Black career, unsurprisingly getting the nod over bench spark Patty Mills. LaMarcus Aldridge, however, quickly became the focus of the Spurs' offense, scoring 10 in the first quarter. The game, however, was neck and neck, thanks to 16 combined points from Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. LaMarcus was in full-on beast mode, driving the lane for a thunderous dunk over Towns to put the Spurs up by four.
Then there was this little number from Kyle Anderson to Mills to Danny Green...
And this one from Miller to Green...
Despite the fireworks, the Spurs ended the quarter with a slim three point lead.
Minnesota made substitutions, and reserves like Shabazz Muhammed, Tyus Jones, and Adreian Payne took the lead and fought back and forth with the Spurs. With Duncan out, Boban Marjanovic came into the game in the second quarter but made little impact. Following a Zach LaVine triple with 5 minutes to go in the half, Andre Miller took matters into his own hands. He scored three straight baskets, sparking a San Antonio run that brought it from a one point Minnesota lead to a 12 point Spurs advantage going into halftime. LaMarcus Aldridge was the primary scorer and finished the half with 19 points.
San Antonio came out of halftime with a renewed commitment on the defensive end, while Kawhi Leonard began to go to work offensively, including this embarrassment of Andrew Wiggins.
Kawhi going to work! pic.twitter.com/jgaxv0w8oQ— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 9, 2016
Seriously, the man can just score at will sometimes...
Andre Miller hit a three, and the Spurs went on a 9-0 run, building their lead to 19. Aldridge did more damage and Miller scored again (reaching double figures), and the Spurs closed a brilliant third quarter up by 25, even with Jonathon Simmons missing a "gimme" layup in the final seconds.
Minnesota, to their credit, didn't lay down and die. They held the Spurs scoreless for nearly the first three minutes of the 4th, but they were only able to cut the lead to 21.
Then Simmons met Gorgui Dieng at the rim...
Needless to say, that brought the house down. Then Matt Bonner started hitting shots, and it was time to go home. Wiggins, LaVine, and other key Timberwolves stayed in the game, but the San Antonio scrubs maintained the lead against them, ultimately winning by 25, 116-91.
The Spurs improve to 54-10 and face the Bulls in San Antonio Thursday night.
For Minnesota's perspective, please visit Canis Hoopus.
Andre Miller finished with a season high 13 points and 5 assists and, more importantly, looked like a real Spur out there.
The Spurs are now 64 games into the season and still have not lost back-to-back games (10-0). The '84-'85 Celtics hold the record at 74 games. The current Warriors are 2 games behind San Antonio in this category.
The Spurs are also perfect this year in SEGABABAs (18-0).
Out of the Spurs' 64 games this season, they have held the other team under 100 points 50 TIMES!
Over the last 5 games, LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 25.4 points and 10.6 rebounds, shooting 57.4 % from the field.
Tonight's MVP was Aldridge. He finished with 29 points (11-13 FG) in 29 minutes, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 1 steal, 0 turnovers.