The San Antonio Spurs are on a roll over the last two weeks and hope to stay hot at home when the Minnesota Timberwolves come to town to kick off the weekend.
The last matchup between these two playoff hopefuls was entirely one-sided as the T-Wolves dismantled the San Antonio Spurs in Minnesota.
San Antonio was going through one of their worst stretches of the season in November but have since recovered to put forth a strong month of basketball in December.
LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are performing like superstars and the rest of the team has followed suit. Under the guidance of head coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs are finally back to playing strong defense and eliminating silly mistakes.
The Spurs aren’t just beating their competition, they’re dominating them. In fact, since the win at home against the Utah Jazz on December 9th, San Antonio has held opponents to just 92.3 points per game on 40.3% shooting from the field.
One could argue the Spurs have been the best team in basketball since December 9th. Just look at the numbers.
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 21, 2018
As great as their defense has been, the Spurs’ three-point shooting has somehow been even more impressive. Though San Antonio is taking less long distance shots than ever before, they’ve knocked down their limited attempts at a ridiculous 46.7% clip over a six-game stretch.
With the exception of a major meltdown against the Chicago Bulls, the boys in Black and Silver have looked like a different squad during the holiday season. The Spurs have climbed up the Western Conference standings and clawed their way back into the playoff race.
San Antonio has put the pedal to the metal and they don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon. Minnesota, on the other hand, isn’t exactly in the same boat.
A trade that sent disgruntled superstar Jimmy Butler off to Philadelphia seemed to reinvigorate the team, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing of late for the Timberwolves. While Minnesota started off 9-3 without the perennial All-Star on their roster, they’ve since fallen to 1-5 across their last six contests.
Clearly, the inexperienced Minneapolis stars are grappling with crippling inconsistency from game to game. Still, the T-Wolves are a dangerous team with the capability to light up the scoreboard and shut down the opposition in the same breath.
Although former first overall picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins command the spotlight in Minnesota, they aren’t the only players the Spurs need to worry about slowing down. Fellow starlets Robert Covington and Dario Saric are dangerous in their own right and can catch fire in an instant.
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Rose is averaging 19 points per game off the bench in 2018-2019 and is quite possibly on his way to a historic Sixth Man of the Year Award. At 30 years old, the shifty guard isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s more than made up for it by adding a legitimate three-point shot to his arsenal.
Just because Minnesota is ice cold at the moment doesn’t mean they won’t pose a threat to the Spurs recent string of success. San Antonio will have their hands full trying to keep up with this young and athletic squad.
If LA, DeRozan and Rudy Gay can kickstart the offense, the second unit should have plenty left in the tank to finish this one off. The Spurs’ greatest strength is their depth, and nearly everyone on the team is in the midst of a hot streak.
Starting point guard Jeff Teague will miss his third straight game as he nurses a day-to-day ankle injury suffered earlier in the month. Despite the absence of a major player, Minnesota is incredibly deep at the point guard position and should hardly miss a beat.
As for the Spurs, there are no new updates on the injury report. Pau Gasol remains out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right foot and Lonnie Walker IV will continue his rehab stint in the G-Leauge with the Austin Spurs.
The Timberwolves are one of the worst road teams in the NBA, but San Antonio will have the luxury of playing at home in this contest. Expect the friendly AT&T Center crowd to give the Spurs the push they need to lock this one up.
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Viewing details for the game are below:
Date: Friday, Dec. 21Time: 7:30 p.m. CSTLocation: San Antonio, TXVenue: AT&T CenterTV Info: KMYS, FSNTH Live Stream: FuboTV