El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 86
|Tim Duncan, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +17
With Tiago Splitter out with injury, Duncan received the unenviable task of hand-to-hand combat with Nikola Pekovic…AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE. No seriously, I saw Duncan in the locker room after the game. He’s alive and he’s going to play on Monday night against New Orleans.
|Boris Diaw, PF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +3
Diaw was just fantastic defending Kevin Love. Again with Splitter out, this was the result of the lineup shuffle and Diaw was excellent. Minnesota looked to take advantage of Diaw and Matt Bonner down low, but it didn’t happen. Great defensive night on Love.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +15
More impressive than a team-leading 17 points on 11 shots, there was one possession in the second half where the Spurs completed something like seven passes and finished with a Bonner 3 in the right corner. Leonard had two catch-and-fire passes on the play, including the assist. More of that, please.
|Tony Parker, PG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | +16
A season-high in assists for Parker against the Wolves. Forget that noise, I’ll take the two blocks any day. [Kidding, I don’t rate point guard defense all that highly, especially not when it comes to blocked shots.]
|Danny Green, SG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +3
IcyHot left the game with a hand injury he suffered in the first half. He’s not making the trip to New Orleans for Monday night’s game. I talked to him in the locker room after the win over Minnesota and he said a couple of fingers got bent back awkwardly, but he didn’t really remember how it happened. The x-rays were negative but he’s staying around in San Antonio to get an MRI done.
|Jeff Ayres, PF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +9
Ayres appears to be getting more comfortable within the friendly confines of Gregg Popovich’s system. He’s got a Patty Mills-level energy impact and he looks like he’s trying to rip the rim off the backboard when he dunks it. There’s a lot to like about the way Ayres plays basketball, even if it’s not the most effective or polished.
|Matt Bonner, PF Shot Chart 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +4
Bonner sits firmly in the Diaw camp with his performance in defending Kevin Love. He also had his season-high in offensive output on four fewer shots than Love. Basically, Bonner for game MVP.
|Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +2
Nando is just such a fun person to watch play basketball, it’s a shame he’s not making his mark in San Antonio. Here’s to hoping he can one day find a team in the NBA that is able to play him regular minutes with plenty of offensive freedom. Who knows, if Green is out an extended period and Manu sits a couple more games, it could happen.
|Patty Mills, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +1
Party Thrills looked like he was trying to single-handedly trying to put the T-Wolves away early in the fourth quarter. And he almost did it.
|Cory Joseph, PG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8
Depending on how long Green is out and Ginobili continues to sit, CoJo could be in line for a few more minutes per game.
|Marco Belinelli, SG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +9
Gelato is perpetually an aesthetically-pleasing fit to the Spurs offense. When every player on the floor can pass to Belinelli from any spot on the floor, he’s a threat.
“What you got?” — Gregg Popovich with play cards and dress clothes in hand to gathered reporters after the game, clearly in a rush to get to the bus for the team’s flight to New Orleans. Just a fantastic opener.
Four Things We Saw
- The fourth-quarter dance-off on the jumbotron between a woman from the Baseline Bums and a soccer mom clad in a pink Manu jersey with two young daughters was the stuff of legends. People at the game will be saving their ticket stubs and telling grandchildren about that night. We need to petition the Spurs to send the tape to ESPN Classic. Or at least put it on YouTube.
- Tim Duncan picked up a technical foul in the third quarter. Just thought that should be noted, because it’s fun.
- The Spurs announced on Sunday night after the game that Manu Ginobili did travel with the team to New Orleans and is officially questionable for the matchup with the Pelicans.
- Patty Mills, Cory Joseph and the Spurs bench did such a good job opening up that fourth quarter the the Spurs were able to build a 10-point lead into a an 18-point advantage and save Tony Parker the trouble of having to play at all in the fourth. With the second night of a back-to-back looming on the road on Monday night, I’m sure Gregg Popovich is please. Especially after what happened last week in Memphis.