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San Antonio Spurs vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Key takeaways

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs started the season off with a win over the Timberwolves in an extremely tight game down the stretch.

The San Antonio Spurs were locked in a competitive game with Minnesota as both teams were looking to start their year off on the right foot.

The first half was full of runs by each team, but the Spurs went into the locker room with a 56-52 lead.

The Wolves surged to a lead in the third quarter by outscoring San Antonio by six points, which set up for a winner-take-all fourth quarter.

Both of the Spurs’ All-Stars came up big in the clutch as LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan were the best players on the court during the fourth quarter and San Antonio closed out the Wolves for a 112-108 victory.

Here are the three main takeaways from the opening night victory:

Next: LaMarcus Aldridge was a beast on the boards

SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

LaMarcus Aldridge was a beast on the boards

LaMarcus Aldridge was absolutely dominant in the post on Wednesday night.

The Wolves could not box him out as he grabbed 19 total rebounds including 11 offensive boards. Aldridge converted a ton of those offensive rebounds into points as the Spurs scored 25 second chance points compared to Minnesota’s 14.

The six-time All-Star did not have a good night shooting the ball going 7-for-23 from the field, but he did manage to score 21 points in 41 minute. Aldridge also played a part in shutting down Karl Anthony-Towns who fouled out with just 8 points and 9 rebounds.

Aldridge’s grittiness in doing the dirty work earns him the MVP award from this game.

Next: DeMar DeRozan recovers from rough first half

SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 7: DeMar DeRozan #10 and Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs exchange high fives against Houston Rockets on October 7, 2018 at AT&T Center, in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 7: DeMar DeRozan #10 and Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs exchange high fives against Houston Rockets on October 7, 2018 at AT&T Center, in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

DeMar DeRozan recovers from rough first half

Whether it was nerves or feeling weird in a new uniform, DeRozan started slow with his new team.

While he passed the ball well in the first half, the former Raptor missed five of his first seven shots as a Spur. However, he turned it on in the second half to score 28 points on 10-for-21 from the floor.

DeRozan proved he will be the go-to guy down the stretch as he hit the game-winning shot to go up 110-108 in the final minute and sunk two free throws to extend the lead out of reach.

DeRozan contributed 4 assists and 4 rebounds to go along with his fantastic night scoring the ball, and he clearly hit the ground running in his new home arena.

Next: Rudy Gay has a big night

SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 17: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game on October 17, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rudy Gay has a big night

The loss of Dejounte Murray makes Rudy Gay that much more important this season as the Spurs look for a third player to take the pressure off of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

Gay had an extremely efficient night on the offensive end hitting 8-of-12 shots for 18 points as Minnesota didn’t have much of an answer for the 6-foot 8-inch swingman.

Rudy looked like he had some extra bounce in his legs as he is now one more year removed from that Achilles injury he suffered in Sacramento. Gay didn’t look 100 percent healthy last season, but he looked like he’s taken another step towards a full recovery tonight.

He also grabbed 7 boards and only turned the ball over once to go along with his impressive offensive output.

If Gay can consistently put up these type of numbers, the Spurs could have a legitimate big three once again.

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Next. Three breakout players for 2018-19

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