Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Wolves

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SAN ANTONIO SPURS (30-6) vs. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (9-28)
TEAM LEADERS

PointsReboundsAssists
SPURSManu Ginobili 18.9Tim Duncan 9.4Tony Parker 6.9
WOLVESMichael Beasley 21.8Kevin Love 15.6Luke Ridnour 5.5
The San Antonio Spurs look to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 15th straight time when the teams meet in San Antonio tonight to open a home-and-home set.

San Antonio (30-6) holds the league’s best record but has struggled in both matchups this season against the Timberwolves.

The Spurs were down by 11 at the end of the third quarter of an eventual 113-109 overtime victory last November 24, and trailed by 15 entering the final period of a 107-101 win on December 3.

The Timberwolves (9-28) are seeking to avoid a fourth consecutive loss. After blowing an eight-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in a 108-105 overtime loss to undermanned Charlotte last Wednesday, the Timberwolves trailed by as many as 24 before losing 108-98 to Portland last Friday night.

While the Timberwolves continue to falter, Kevin Love hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He had 30 points and 19 rebounds versus the Trail Blazers for his 23rd consecutive double-double.

Love is averaging 28.5 points and 20.0 boards in the season series with the Spurs this year. Defensive specialist Corey Brewer is likely to make his fourth start for the Wolves. He leads the team with 1.6 steals per game.

The Timberwolves haven’t won in San Antonio since Jan. 14, 2004, a 100-93 victory in which Duncan had 36 points and 20 rebounds in a losing effort. Another thing going for the Spurs is they are a veteran team that has confidence and knows what is takes to win ball games.  

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:

Offense — Ginobili, Parker, Duncan and Jefferson leads the Spurs offensive attack. Matt Bonner is hitting his 3-pointers and George Hill and Gary Neal continues to provide steady hands off the bench. They should have enough fire power against the Wolves.

Defense
— The Spurs must contain the Wolves’ inside game, limiting Beasley and Kevin Love on offensive end and controlling the rebounds will be the key.

WOLVES:

Offense — Their offense starts with Beasley and Love but It will be important for them to get their inside game going, otherwise it will be a long night for the struggling Wolves.

Defense — Defend the Spurs’ dribble penetrations and kick outs, cover the Spurs’ outside shooters and pound the ball on the inside. Entering this game the Wolves leads the league in the rebounding department. 
 
INJURIES

Spurs — James Anderson – stress fracture (out)

Wolves — Martell Webster – back (day-to-day), Anthony Tolliver – knee (day-to-day)

PREDICTION: The Spurs have already defeated the Timberwolves twice this season but it came the hard way. The Wolves have given the Spurs matchup problems especially on the frontcourt, if they can dominate the inside and control the boards an upset is very likely.
However, the Spurs are a veteran team and are coming off a tough game against the Indiana Pacers and Gregg Popovich is one of the best in keeping his players focused for every game. This should be another close one with the Spurs winning it 98-95.

Follow Robby Lim on Twitter @RobbyLim21