Traditionally, the Spurs have been one of the best defensive teams in the league, but the story is different this year. Tonight, they let the Timberwolves run all over them, scoring 40 points in two consecutive quarters, and the Spurs couldn’t keep up despite a good scoring night from DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge and a great contribution from the bench, including another great effort from Patty Mills. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins got lots of open looks all game long, and they turned them into points, but Jeff Teague, returning from illness, looked great for the Wolves, and he proved that Dejounte Murray still has a lot to learn about defending good NBA point guards.
- The Spurs played 7 or their first 10 games at home, but that’s about to change, with 6 of the next 7 on the road. I think we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if the team comes together or starts to fracture.
- Wiggins looks as good as he ever has in the league. After several years of underperforming his high draft status, he looks like he’s taking advantage of his athleticism advantage over defenders and getting to the hoop whenever he wants.
- The Spurs perimeter defense is bad, but that still doesn’t explain how teams can always shoot way better against them than their average.
- Robert Covington would sure look good in Silver and Black. He’s a good defender, and makes 3 point shots.
- At the start of the season, they said that Dejounte Murray would be on a minutes restriction for about 10 games. This is the 11th game. He did finish the game tonight, but still played less than half the game tonight.
- This team should be better on defense than last year, but there are so many mental mistakes that give the other team wide open shots. It can get really frustrating to watch.
- DeMar gets fouled more without getting calls than any player I’ve seen since Tony Parker, as confirmed by the 2-minute report from the last game. He got a tech for complaining about a non-call in the third, but it was understandable.
- Pop used his first coach’s challenge of the season early in the fourth as Minnesota was about to put the game away. He lost the challenge, but got a technical called on Treveon Graham, so it wasn’t a total loss.
- Jeff Teague was great for them tonight. Wiggins and Towns are their superstars, but Teague makes them go.
- Chimezie Metu impressed in garbage time, maybe he should play more when the game is on the line.
Aldridge opened the scoring with a jumper that hit every part of the rim before it bounced in. This was quickly negated with a 7-0 T-Wolves run, though. The superior athleticism of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins allowed Minnesota to score easily as they built an 18-10 lead halfway through the quarter. They led by as much as 9 until the Spurs cut into the lead late in the quarter on a Patty Mills 4 point play, and trailed 26-24 after one.
Jakob Poeltl tied things up with a layup of a deflected pass to start off the second quarter. Things were looking OK for the Spurs until Jeff Teague walked up to a wide open three point shot and nonchalantly sank it, which seemed to upset Coach Popovich a little bit. The defense by the Spurs was terrible, but so was the home team’s, so they just traded buckets for a while. But a pair of triples from Wiggins and Towns gave the home team a bit of breathing room. Despite the Wolves getting insanely hot from beyond the arc in the quarter, they only 56-49 at the half.
The Spurs started the second half with a little more aggressiveness with a shot and foul by Bryn Forbes to cut into the lead. Forbes kept up the aggression, scoring the next 5 for the good guys, and the Spurs took the lead on a DeMar DeRozan drive in the lane, 70-68. The Wolves got back with an 8-2 run to regain the lead. The Spurs lost a little composure, and before you knew it, the Wolves led 94-85. Wiggins hot shooting led to a 40 point quarter for the Wolves and they led 106-95 after three.
The Spurs lost the ball leading to a Jake Layman breakaway to start the fourth quarter scoring. Rudy Gay blocked the layup, but he got called for a foul. The game was getting away from the Spurs with the Timberwolves hustling to every loose ball and rebound, and Pop tried to stem the bleeding with a coach’s challenge. It sort of worked, the Spurs started to play more even, but they were already down double digits. The Spurs couldn’t hit a shot until halfway through the quarter, and by that time, the game was pretty much out of reach. Pop waved the white flag with 4 minutes left, with Chimezie Metu and Lonnie Walker IV taking the court to get some playing time to prove themselves.
I’ve been feeling a little negative about a lot of things lately.
For the Timberwolves fan’s perspective, head over to Canis Hoopus. The Spurs are 5-6 and are in 9th place in the Western Conference. The Spurs play the Magic on Friday night at 6:00 PM in Orlando next.
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