After securing the play-in with their win over the Nuggets on Tuesday the San Antonio Spurs came into Minnesota with another goal of catching the Pelicans in 9th in order to host the 9/10 play-in game. But they ran into a three-point barrage from the Minnesota Timberwolves in their 127-121 loss.
It wasn’t the greatest opening minutes for the visitors as they were struggling to create open looks even when they were moving the ball. While on the other end the T’Wolves were getting a number of open shots from the perimeter. The Spurs recovered by exploiting the poor pick-and-roll defense from the home team — scoring bucket after bucket in the paint. When the bench units came in it was the Silver & Blacks who threw the first punch, scoring 18-points to give them a five-point advantage after one.
With Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards on the bench to begin the second it was the Minnesota bench that fired back with a small run to push themselves back in front. The size of the Timberwolves was hurting the Spurs with the home team able to get extra shots every possession while San Antonio had to settle for one shot every time down the floor. To compel their misery turnovers started to pile up for the visitors with only Devin Vassell’s three-point shooting keeping the Spurs afloat. They would end up going into the half behind; 64-57.
The worst possible start to the half happened for the Silver & Black as Towns went for eight straight points after he was originally called for a charge which would have given him his fourth foul and almost certainly sent him to the bench. Another back to back set of triples from Vassell kept the game from going beyond 20-points but the lack of defensive stops was halting the Spurs from cutting into the deficit. Devin got some help moments later from Keldon Johnson who only had five-points in the first 24 minutes. KJ would go on a small offensive tear including three straight buckets inside the arc which was part of a larger 9-0 run. The Timberwolves responded through a number of tough makes from Anthony Edwards which restored the T’Wolves double-digit advantage heading into the final frame.
ANT continued his momentum with another ten-points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. The Spurs kept fighting back and got it to nine, but once again they couldn’t sustain the run and Minnesota would go on down the other end and hit two consecutive triples. With the game looking out of reach, Coach Pop would empty his bench but with Edwards nearing a 50-point game, Chris Finch kept his starter in. This is when it got weird, ANT would start chucking up three-point attempts without even taking time off the shot clock, which allowed the Spurs to claw their way back to four-points with under ten seconds. They had a shot to close it to a one possession game but missed as the T’Wolves would go on to win by six without Edwards getting the milestone.
- Threes. If you look at the final score and see the Spurs gave up 127 points you would think they played pretty bad on that end of the floor, but that actually wasn’t the case. Yes, they didn’t play as well as they did against Denver but they were solid. The killer was that the Timberwolves were scorching hot from three all night long ending up shooting 20/53 from behind the arc to the Spurs 10/28. It’s always going to be hard to win a game where your opponent hits double the amount of triples as you do.
- Injury Report. Lonnie Walker IV was the new addition to the injury report for this game as after originally being listed as questionable he was eventually ruled out prior to the game with back soreness, the same injury in which he missed four games just two weeks ago. The fact he was listed as questionable tells you it isn’t a long term thing and a good chance he could be back next game. Dejounte Murray and Jock Landale were the other two who have been on the injury report and prior to the game, Pop said those two would be checked on tomorrow when the Spurs get back to San Antonio. It would be great if the Silver & Black could have everyone available (excluding Doug McDermott who is out for the season) for the last home game of the regular season.
- Race for the 9th seed and a home play-in game. The Spurs are 2.0 games behind the Pelicans with 2 games to play. San Antonio has the tiebreaker which means they need to go 2-0 and have New Orleans go 0-2 to move into the 9th seed.
Play of the Game
A lovely end to end sequence from two of the Spurs best.
Spurs Valuable Player (SVP)
3rd place (1 point): Keldon Johnson | 34mins, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, two triples
Keldon Johnson now extends his run of 20+ point games to eight. But, because he did most of his work in one half, and did it on slightly poor efficiency he doesn’t sneak any higher on the rankings for this game.
2nd place (2 points): Devin Vassell | 30mins, 18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, four triples
Another game, another solid performance from the second-year wing. Devin Vassell seems to be the go to guy in situations where the Spurs need a bucket and as of late without Dejounte, he has made those shots to break scoring ruts.
1st place (3 points): Jakob Poeltl | 31mins, 15 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks
After the Spurs allowed KAT to score 60 points the last time these sides met it was great to see San Antonio contain the All-Star Center, and it was mostly thanks to Jakob Poeltl. The Austrian kept Towns under his average and made him shoot 39% from the floor. He also had three blocks and was a monster on the boards.
1st - Dejounte Murray - 121pts
2nd - Jakob Poeltl - 68pts
3rd - Keldon Johnson - 65pts
4th - Devin Vassell - 53pts
5th - Derrick White - 51pts
6th - Lonnie Walker IV - 37pts
7th - Doug McDermott - 16pts
8th - Bryn Forbes & Tre Jones - 12pts
9th - Thaddeus Young - 11pts
10th - Jock Landale - 10pts
11th - Josh Richardson - 8pts
12th - Keita Bates-Diop - 6pts
13th - Josh Primo & Zach Collins - 3pts
14th - Drew Eubanks - 2pts
15th - Devontae Cacok & Joe Wieskamp - 1pt
Next Game: Vs Golden State on Saturday
In San Antonio’s last home game of the regular season the Golden State Warriors come to visit for a contest that could have seeding implications for both. The Spurs are 2-1 against the Dubs this year and will look to finish strong in front of the AT&T Center faithful.