San Antonio lost a grind-it-out battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The Spurs fought back after trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, but couldn’t complete the comeback, ultimately falling 101-113.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, closely followed by 20 points from DeMar DeRozan. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 26 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns dominated the contest on his way to a 23 point 14 rebound double-double.
- The Timberwolves were the top-scoring first-quarter team in the NBA coming into the game (30.4 Points), and the Spurs held them to 22. San Antonio has held opponents to 21 points per first quarter over their last three games, a far cry from their average of 27.1 points coming into the night. Could this be a sign of progress?
- An 8-0 run in the final frame gave the Silver and Black their first lead since the beginning of the second quarter, but they couldn’t hold onto their momentum. Minnesota responded with a 21-9 run to end the game and snuffed out San Antonio’s comeback bid.
- Though DeMarre Carroll appeared in five straight games, he was held out of the action against the T-Wolves. Instead, Pop opted for seven minutes of a floundering Marco Belinelli. It seemed like Carroll was gaining traction with the coaching staff, but maybe not? This is worth keeping an eye on going forward.
- Coach Popovich rolled out a backcourt of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White in the fourth quarter and the game wasn’t in garbage time. Maybe it was just a minor tinkering of the lineup, or maybe we’ll see a tag team of San Antonio’s defensive stalwarts more often in the near future. Either way, it was a pleasant surprise to a disappointing finish.
- LaMarcus Aldridge only needed five points to move past Scottie Pippen on the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard. With 22 points in the loss to Minnesota, the seven-time All-Star took sole possession of 59th place.
- Karl-Anthony Towns imposed his will against San Antonio. He scored in the paint when he wished, completed a four-point play, and gave the Spurs a headache on the boards. There were simply no answers for Minnesota’s superstar center.
- Bryn Forbes was abysmal on both ends, but managed to move up San Antonio’s all-time minutes played leaderboard. By logging 22 minutes, he overtook Kyle Anderson for 49th place in franchise history.
- Jakob Poeltl was everywhere defensively, swatting 5 shots in 22 minutes. Coincidentally, the Austrian big man also passed teammate Rudy Gay for 46th place on the Spurs’ all-time blocks list.
- GREGGORY CHARLES POPOVICH GAVE US A SMILE. And when San Antonio’s famously stern-faced head coach relinquishes a mid-game grin, you know something great must be in progress. What turned that frown upside down? That would be none other than Lonnie Walker IV.
- Lonnie Walker IV checked into the game with 4:36 left in the third quarter and immediately made an impact. He tickled the twine from three, dropped in a beautiful finger roll and forced the T-Wolves into a timeout before the end of the third. He finished with a season-high 11 points and displayed a new-found fearlessness in his first real productive minutes of the season.
- The refs were a bit moody Wednesday night, and wanted no part of any complaint from Karl-Anthony Towns. The all-world big man let the refs hear it after a no-call and questionable charge on consecutive plays, and the officials quickly T’d up KAT and head coach Ryan Saunders. It didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but the decision to hand out a technical seemed rather arbitrary.
- Minnesota absolutely torched the Spurs from long distance, which is a bit of letdown considering they were the 28th most accurate three-point team in the league coming into the matchup. The Timberwolves are shooting 31.7% from downtown this season, but Wednesday night they were 18-of-40 (45%). It’s safe to say this wasn’t the good guys’ best defensive effort.