In their final ‘home’ game of the season, the San Antonio Spurs allowed the Minnesota Timberwolves to set a new franchise scoring record of 151 points in their offensive domination of the Silver & Black.
The Spurs who were without Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, Zach Collins and more were competitive through two quarters in their second straight game in their Austin two-game series, but 24 made threes by the visitors would end up being their undoing in a 151-131 defeat.
A fun game had a fun beginning as it was a battle of the two guards early on, with Malaki Branham and Anthony Edwards taking on the scoring load for their respective teams. With Minnesota deploying their double-big lineup with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert at the 4 and 5 the Spurs were taking advantage of their speed to create space and get good looks. The T’Wolves however were using their size to good effect on offense by scoring on the Spurs' much more undersized frontcourt. Julian Champagnie who got the spot start with Keldon out, was continuing his red-hot streak from beyond the arc, starting this game with three made triples from three attempts. Even with being undersized to the visitors San Antonio was fighting on the glass to not allow many second-chance opportunities and this was a big reason why the Silver & Black had the game tied up at 35 apiece after one.
After a decent defensive effort in the first 12 minutes respective to the context of who the Spurs had available, in the second all that defensive effort went right out the window. San Antonio was getting undisciplined on that side of the ball which was giving Minnesota open looks and opportunities from the free-throw line. The home team allowed the visitors to get up by double-digits before they fought back with a few stops and transition baskets of their own. But the Wolves had found their rhythm and especially ANT who was firing on all cylinders, as he hit back with a run of his own to maintain the lead using his speed and strength to score inside. It was a see-saw of a quarter, so it was the Spurs' time to hit their stride and they did so through Sandro Mamukelashvilli and Champagnie who was still blazing from three. Unfortunately after the Silver & Black got it back to a two-possession game it was Minnestoa who finished the half stronger, mainly thanks to the inspired two-way play by ANT who had 23 first-half points and helped his team to an 80-point half and a 12-point lead.
The home team needed a strong start in the second half if they were going to make any sort of comeback but that is the opposite of what transpired, as the Spurs got off to a slow start which allowed the T’Wolves a chance to extend their lead which Jaden McDaniels obliged to do on behalf of his team, hitting back-to-back corner triples. The Wolves offense wasn’t skipping a beat and they were handing out an onslaught from outside the arc going 10/11 from three in the quarter. The game did start to settle into a pattern midway through the period but another onslaught towards the end pushed Minnestota’s lead to 30 heading into the fourth.
With the lead so large the fourth was mostly a wash with both teams waiving the white flag for the majority of the frame and allowing their younger players to get a chance to shine. In the end, the 24 made three-pointers by the visitors were just too much for the Spurs to handle, losing 151-131.
- Fun Offensive Showcase. The talk after the game will be about the Timberwolves and their high-powered offense, scoring 151 points and hitting 24 triples, but the Spurs also did show some fun offense, especially considering they were down four starters and a number of other rotational pieces. They had 6 of the 9 players that played scoring 14 or more points as they shot 52% as a team and 45% from three. They also had 34 assists on 50 made shots as they shared the ball at will and played the typical Spurs way.
- Tre Jones. A phenomenal outing by Tre on offense as he bags his second career triple-double just a few days after grabbing his first one in the win over Sacramento. The third-year guard had 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while shooting 9/14 from the floor and only turning the ball over once. It’s been another season of development from Tre who has once again taken another step in his growth, especially as a scorer. With him being a restricted free agent this summer it will be interesting to see how the Spurs value him with the ballclub also having to take into account the development of the other guards on the roster and a possible high draft selection in that position.
- Julian Champagnie. My word, he just keeps on impressing. Julian had his third 20+ point game in his last four outings, this time scoring 24 points on 50% shooting and hitting 5 triples. He has 18 threes in his last 5 games and it’s becoming pretty apparent that he should get a roster spot on the Spurs next season. Outside of being a flamethrower from beyond the arc, Champagnie does all the little things well, he cuts, rebounds, defends without fouling and doesn’t turn the ball over. Julian is becoming one of my favorite Spur role players in a long time, and hopefully we get to see a lot more of him next season.
Play of the night
An outrageous shot from Blake with the shot clocking winding down. Wesley also had his career-high in this one, as he scored 14 points on 6/9 shooting as he looked as confident as he has in the past few weeks.
Next game: @ Dallas Mavericks on Sunday
The Spurs end the season against interstate rivals the Dallas Mavericks in a game where neither team will be playing their starters, but one that could see some fireworks if both coaches let their young guys play free.