The San Antonio Spurs started the 2018-19 season with a thrilling 112-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a totally not-unexpected move, this one was won thanks to three-point shooting. In all, the Spurs hit 11-25 threes, out-shooting themselves 44% from three compared to 43% from two.
DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 28 points and four assists. LaMarcus Aldridge posted a 21/19 double-double, and Rudy Gay had 18 points. Three players scored 20 points or more for the Timberwolves, led by 27 from Jeff Teague, 23 from Jimmy Butler, and 20 for Andrew Wiggins.
- We finally got our first look at Matt Bonner’s new partner-in-crime. After Andrew Monaco left to become the radio voice of Texas A&M athletics, Dan Weiss — who as been with Spurs Sports and Entertainment for 10 years — is now Bonner’s co-host of the pre- and post-game shows. He was pretty good! You can learn more about him here.
- Butler reportedly chartered his own plane and took his own car to the arena instead of traveling with the team. There was a question whether an angry, determined Wolves team would show up, or an unhappy, disjointed one, and it turned out to be somewhere in between.
- Jakob Poeltl got the start at center and looked just fine, but Pau Gasol still got plenty of court time with Aldridge, and they showed their chemistry together is still as strong as ever.
- There were a lot of off-the-ball fouls called in this one and be prepared for more. The NBA is trying to put a big emphasis on “freedom of movement,” and grabbing/holding players on screens, pick-and-rolls, and any other situation will result in a foul. There was also supposed to be the same emphasis on traveling, but at least three pretty obvious travels that everyone in the building except the refs saw went uncalled.
- With back-to-back circus threes in the second quarter, Marco Belinelli was quick to remind Spurs fans (as if they need any reminding) why we loved him so much in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
- It felt like Aldridge had a pretty quiet first half (his shot wasn’t there a lot of the night), but yet he still became the first Spur to record a double-double by halftime since Tim Duncan in 2004 with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Spurs showed some pretty good ball movement at times, including from Aldridge, DeRozan, and Gay. Things may not be as iso-heavy as some feared heading into the season.
- All-NBA big man Karl Anthony Towns was a non-factor in this one as he spent most of the night in foul trouble. He fouled out with just over 4 minutes left in the game, finishing with just 8 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes.
- A new feature in the broadcast was instead of “the truck” asking Bill Land and Sean Elliot a trivia question at some point during the game, Bonner and Elliot squared off at halftime answering a couple of questions, no multiple choice. Sean pulled a rabbit out of a hat and properly guessed the opponent in Matt’s Spurs debut in 2006 (Dallas Mavericks), while neither could name the Spurs first ABA opponent (San Diego Conquistadors).
For the Timberwolves fans’ perspective, visit Canis Hoopus.
The Spurs return on Saturday in Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. Tip-off will be at 9:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Southwest.