El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 106, Minnesota Timberwolves 88

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Minnesota Timberwolves 88 FinalRecap | Box Score 106 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, PF 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-5 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 7 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +2Tim Duncan’s struggles on offense continue, though it certainly hasn’t affected his defense. Duncan had six blocks in the first half and his defense overall helped key the Spurs transition game and secondary break.
Tiago Splitter, PF 20 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -1Got in some early foul trouble but was part of the fourth quarter group that moved the ball with precision and blew the game wide open.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 30 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | 0Solid, efficient night from Kawhi Leonard highlighted by a dunk off a pass from Boris Diaw in the third quarter.
Tony Parker, PG 29 MIN | 10-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +1Quietly effective game. Tony Parker pushed the pace, got some fast break layups, and repeatedly got into the paint for his patented floater.
Danny Green, SG 21 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +2Danny Green continues his feast or famine ways on the offensive end, enough so that it wouldn’t be surprising if he got an endorsement deal for the Texas Lottery game, “All or Nothing.”
Stephen Jackson, SF 28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +28Stephen Jackson supplied some energy and offense with Manu Ginobili going down. His fourth quarter activity, especially on the defensive end, helped the Spurs pull away and give the starters much needed rest.
DeJuan Blair, C 9 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5DeJuan Blair provided a nice spark in the first half. His hard cuts to the rim (nine points on 4-5 shooting) helped open up the Spurs offense a little bit when working in tandem with Manu Ginobili in the pick and roll.
Boris Diaw, C 18 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +15Boris Diaw started the third quarter with Tiago Splitter in foul trouble and his floor game really opened up the Spurs offense. He moved into open spots when teammates got in trouble and quickly reversed the ball or found a cutter when he received a pass.
Patty Mills, PG 19 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +17Patty Mills played an energetic, pestering defense and was running circles around the court.Though he couldn’t buy a shot, his play helped set the pace and tone for the second unit.
Gary Neal, PG 21 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +8Gary Neal found a rhythm in the fourth quarter and absolutely went off on the Timberwolves, putting the game out of reach. It’s not the first big fourth quarter he’s had all season and he’s ensured the starters plenty of rest a few times already. Turnovers remain a problem.
Nando de Colo, PG 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0Moved the ball and stepped into the only shot presented to him.
Manu Ginobili, SG 12 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +13Was the best player on the floor until he went down with a strained hamstring. The injury is a shame as Ginobili was just rounding into form, knifing his way into the lane at impossible angles and changes of direction.
Gregg PopovichGregg Popovich stepped up and got himself ejected. It was a move that both supplied energy to his team and showed he has their back in terms of officiating.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Manu Ginobili’s injury looked scary–the injuries with little to no contact always are–but afterwards Stephen Jackson pointed out the Spurs can take some solace that it’s a strain and not a pull. Still, Spurs fans will be nervous until an official prognosis is available.
  2. The Spurs still struggled with turnovers, though they did manage to improve their ball movement.
  3. The game was won on the defensive end, especially as a Duncan block or contested shot and rebound led to quick transition opportunities. The Spurs even managed to force a few shot clock violations.
  4. In the second half the Spurs went with smaller lineups, which improved the spacing and ball movement tremendously. Though the Spurs have done well with the Duncan-Splitter lineup it’s still a nice wrinkle to throw out there when matchups allow.
  5. The Spurs are off until Wednesday, which will allow them to rest some weary legs and rediscover some forgotten basics with a practice or two.
  • Steve Tallent

    Can do fast break drills? I didn’t see the first half of this game, but usually we end up completely screwing up 2 or more very make-able fast breaks per game with either a charge, missed basket, or allowing the track-down block cuz we go soft. Of course it results in a fast break going the other direction.

  • GUESSWHO

    In the Five Things We Saw section, I think it should say little to no contact instead of little to know contact.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Hammie injuries are notoriously difficult to come back from. When you factor in Manu’s mileage, I don’t see him coming back too soon. In a perfect world, he’ll be back to being Manu by the playoffs. In the meantime, Gary Neal just got handed the keys to the second unit, and that worries me. Hopefully Mills gets a lion’s share of Manu’s minutes, because he puts Neal back at the 2 guard. De Colo has a higher ceiling, but Patty is better now.