With Tony Parker (Hamstring Strain) and Manu Ginobili (shoulder) out for the Spurs it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Going into the game against the Timberwolves, there were even reports that Tim Duncan would sit out and rest. Maybe he convinced coach Gregg Poppovich to let him play.
The Timberwolves only won three of their first 18 games going into the contest, but they are energetic bunch that have given a fair share of good teams their troubles, despite having many injuries. Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio have all missed heavy portions of the season with injuries.
The Timberwolves had already gone down to the wire against Houston, Chicago and Minnesota, three of the leagues best teams. That didn’t happen on Saturday night, the Spurs jumped on a quick lead and never looked back. The Spurs led 68-51 at the half, thanks to Marco Belinelli‘s 17 first half points. Overall Belinelli led the team with 20 points and 6 assists despite coming off the bench.
Cory Joseph, who replaced Parker in the starting lineup played terrific. He finished with 18 points and 5 assists on 7-10 from the field. Kawhi Leonard finished with 18 points and Boris Diaw had 17 points in 23 minutes.
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The key to the win was hot shooting by the Spurs. The Spurs shot 57% from the field and hit 22 of 25 free throws. Ball movement was also key, as they finished with 30 assists despite two of their better playmakers being out (Parker and Ginobili). Five Spurs had at least four assists in the contest. The negative for the Spurs was their 16 turnovers.
The Spurs are now 7-1 at home this season and take on the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at EnergySolutions Arena.