By Jeff Cerda, Project Spurs
The Spurs knew they could not afford to lose another game to a opponent with a losing record, and they played like it early in the game. The Timberwolves came into San Antonio with a overall record of 15-65 and a hapless 5-35 record on the road, so with those stats in the Spurs favor, they took full advantage.
The first quarter started off with a Matt Bonner three-point shot assisted by George Hill, who was returning after missing four games. Wolves’ Al Jefferson would answer with five points making sure they would keep pace with the Spurs. The two teams exchanged baskets early to keep the game close and it looked like it was going to be yet another tough battle for the Spurs against a much less talented team.
After the Wolves’ Corey Brewer layup put Minnesota up by seven at the 5:41 mark, Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich decided he had seen enough and called a time out to talk things over. After the time out the Spurs went on a 9-0 run to take the lead 24-22, and forced the Wolves to call a time out of their own. Spurs’ Roger Mason Jr. sunk a three-point shot to push the run to 12-0, but Wolves’ Kevin Love would make two free-throws to stop the bleeding. Little used Spurs’ center Ian Mahinmi would get a slam dunk to put the exclamation point on the quarter and give the Spurs a 33-26 lead.
In the second quarter the Wolves used old fashion three-point plays to get back in the game. The Wolves went on a 12-4 run to get back in the game and tied the game at the 8:56 mark in the quarter. Back-to-back three-point shots from Mason Jr. and Bonner and a two point shot from Tim Duncan would give the Spurs the lead again 45-39.
The teams exchanged baskets to put the game at 49-43 Spurs. But this is when things really got going for the Spurs. The Spurs went on a 20-4 run which included a 10-0 run at one point but what was more impressive was that in the whole quarter they went on a 32-8 run. Needless to say the Spurs were off and running away with this game. The runs had the Spurs up big at the half, 69-47.
In the third quarter the Spurs did not let off of the pedal and kept making the Wolves play for their sloppy, lazy defense. By this point the Wolves looked like they were ready to pack their bags and head off to Cancun or Rio De Janeiro. Duncanplayed less than four minutes in the quarter which I’m sure made Spurs fans happy since the next game is against their interstate rival the Dallas Mavericks. Spurs’ point-guard Tony Parker led the way in this quarter with eight points and Mahinmi chipped in seven points as the Spurs pushed the lead to as many as 29 points at one point in the quarter.
The Spurs shot 60% from the field as the Wolves had zero interest in playing defense and merely settled for trading baskets with the Spurs and found themselves down 74-98 at the end of the quarter.
By the time the fourth quarter came around the Wolves were simply going through the motions of the game, while the Spurs starters were getting some rest and the bench was finishing out the game. Spurs’ guards Malik Hairston and Keith Bogans scored the first eight points of the quarter for the team as the two teams still continued to trade baskets.
Mahinmi fouled out with 5:08 to go in the game finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds, a much better game than Spurs fans have seen from him lately. The Spurs continued to knock down three-point shots, making 5 of their 14 in the quarter, shooting 14 of 26(53.8%) overall for the game. Bogans scored 11 of his 17 points and Hairston scored 13 of his 14 points in the quarter to help close out the game and give the Spurs a 133-111 victory.
· George Hill returned to the starting lineup after missing four games to a sprained ankle.
· The Spurs got 79 points from their bench, outscoring the Wolves 79-64.
· The Spurs clinched their eleventh straight 50 win season, the longest active streak in the NBA.
The Spurs ended their home game season at 29-12 while the Wolves finished 5-36 on the road.