San Antonio Spurs 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 109: The Spurs get an ‘A’ for persistence, not much else


Wow. What do you call that?


Two night’s ago the Spurs won the most entertaining game of this NBA season against the Orlando Magic. The Spurs and Magic exchanged leads 29 times during that game. Tonight, the Spurs led once, off a Matt Bonner three pointer with 49 seconds remaining in overtime.

Up to that point the Spurs had played a mixture of bad and mediocre basketball. I don’t think there was one point in the game when they developed a rhythm. The Spurs missed nearly all of their three point attempts until late–at one point the Spurs were 2-19. The  Spurs finished 10-32 from behind the arc and 37-94 overall.

Clank, clank, clank, clank, swish, if you’re scoring at home.

Oh, and San Antonio was demolished by Kevin Love (32 and 22) and Darko Milicic (22, 8, and 5 blks). Utterly upended.

Really, everything about this win was ugly. The Spurs should not have won this game.

But they did.

And in that way, despite the otherwise terrible play, this may have been their most impressive win of the season.

It was the ugliest victory I’ve ever seen, and that, friends, is some kind of amazing accomplishment.

But, please, let’s forget it happened.

  • SAJKinBigD

    Forget what happened? :\
    Seriously, gotta admire the fact they pulled this one outta their buttocks tonight. Ugh.
    Didn’t get to watch or listen, but I noticed Blair’s line. What was the deal? 5 minutes, 3 fouls and not much else of a contribution.

  • DS0192234


  • mikrobass3

    missed the game. looking at the stats. if the twolves front line can do that to us, what of the laker front line? the first season is long; best start ever! here’s hoping we are ready for the second (playoffs) season.

  • ThatBigGuy

    The win/loss column doesn’t care how the game went, just that you added another W.

    Poor Blair. He’s doing nothing to keep himself on the floor. A great rebounding rate doesn’t help the team if every other aspect of your game stinks and you’re glued to the pine.

    I hope we play a little better on Friday.

  • Eric

    @mikrobass3 Well, we could take some solace in knowing that the Wolves front line played the Lakers front line straight up in their earlier game (it was Kobe who killed them)

  • zeanocril

    I don’t know what’s wrong, but it left me wondering how the heck Darko was able to score again and again using the same post-up-go-to-the-middle-then-make-a-hookshot move. That was unbelievably and unforgiveable.

  • LPspursFan

    Blair just didn’t match up well against Love and Darko, who both played INCREDIBLY, by the way. But if we had been hitting three’s at a normal percentage, it wouldn’t have been such a drastic deficit. But Darko’s 10-of-17 and Love’s 11-of-19 included some leche, and the Spurs’ good looks in the first half just would not go down. I give them credit for fighting back. After a long winning streak, they easily could have just packed it in and called it one of those nights – but they never quit fighting.

  • jking000

    I think the distribution of minutes between the various bigs is dependent on matchups and flow. I know people like to speculate when either Blair or Splitter don’t get a lot of minutes, but we have realize what a luxury this is. We have 5 legit bigs with different skill sets that all can play significant minutes. This is a great problem.

  • Mitch

    Most of the game Spurs couldn’t buy a shot, and Darko/Love played out of their mind. Nice to see them grind out a win!

  • Bentley

    Kevin Love had an unbelievable game. mid-range, 3-pointers, hook shots, it was all going in for him..a lot of the times with good defense from the spurs big men. But yes, Tim, Tiago, and Dejuan got extremely outplayed. Add to that that we shot so bad from the 3 point line and from the field, were down 21 in the 3rd quarter and STILL won this game. unbelievable.

    No matter what, this team is finding out how to be resillient and win games.

    But i agree Tim, we should def forget about this one.

  • Nadeem

    I hope the other Tim (Duncan) doesnt forget this game. He was just not feeling it. Outside of that big bucket late in the game, there was nuthin he did all nite. I hope he soon gets back to his ownself. Getting outplayed by Darko is plain WRONG

  • hunter

    this game was not 1 of our finest w won overtime against the wolves was not something to be proud of but pop doesnt like 2 blow teams out my guess is he played alot of benchwarmers, he does that alot not a good decision tonight as we get our worst win of the season

  • Nadeem

    Hunter, With all due respect, I think that it was the best win of the year. Anyone can win while shooting 63% from deep. Winning after starting 2 of 19…now thats a great win.

    Having said that, i hope we settle for mediocre wins in the future :)

  • Bert

    I saw this game, and wow. I called the comeback and it happened.

    I think Blair needs to be an energy guy off the bench. I feel bad for the guy right now. He needs a chance to think. He has to much pressure on himself.

    I wonder how long until everyone starts chanting Start Splitter around here. I think it could help.

    Vote Bonner for Allstar Game.

  • Hobson13

    I smell a loss coming either against Dallas or NO. I can’t statistically prove this, but I’ve followed sports (basketball and football) for a long time and can tell you that usually the last straw of a long winning streak is coming up with a miracle win against an inferior opponent. We shouldn’t have won this game tonight. In fact, our only saving grace was free throw attempts.

    Besides, we won’t go 81-1. This has been one hell of a ride and has given me confidence that we are in the midst of a better year than many expected. Our players should be proud that we fought back and won in the final minutes.

    For those who are wondering, we won 11 straight back in 07-08 and we won 13 straight back in 06-07 and in 03-04. That was as far back as I could research.

    BTW, Blair played only 6 very bad minutes tonight. I wonder how long Pop keeps him in the starting lineup. He’s got to show some sort of improvement or he’ll be riding the pine for a long time with the way Splitter, Bonner, and Dyess are playing.

  • Manuel

    if darko didn’t foul out 10 sec into OT and love didn’t cramp up late in the game i’m not sure if they would have pulled this one out

  • thatboyMONO

    manu guna ride til the wheels fall off ugly yet beautiful GOSPURSGO

  • Hunter

    nadeem i like ur enthusiasm it was a great comeback. but we got out played by the B- at best
    T-wolves post players. we also shouldnt have started ut 2 for 19 shots u cant base a franchise off of combacks to be a championship team u want to play great in all 4 quarters

  • LPspursFan

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts….you know the saying. But if we wanna play the “if” game, if we hit a normal percentage of our threes and if the refs called a few of Love’s elbows as fouls…

  • bduran

    obviously we didn’t deserve the win. However, when it comes to playoff seeding these wins count as much as the others. Last year we were better than our record. I won’t mind if our record is better than us this year if it helps us keep home court as long as possible.

    The streak has to end sometime, but i’d rather it not end against a division rival.

  • td4life

    This game should have woken the Spurs up for the coming weekend, they are gonna need great execution and focus to get these next two. Darko and Love only set the stage, as Chandler and Dirk are gonna provide a significant challenge for our bigs. And NOH has lost 2 in a row, so I’d like the Hornets beat Portland so they won’t be quite so in need of a win on Sunday night. Here’s hoping RJ goes easy on the scotch and pecan pie tommorrow and instead puts in practice time from the 3-point line.

  • Gomezd

    Neal beautiful free throws, highlight of the game for sure.

  • idahospur

    Some time ago, especially in the early games of a playoff series, if the game was slipping away and the Spurs just weren’t playing well, the policy would be let it go and win the next one. In this season, the Spurs were 12-1 going into tonight and just won a big game against Orlando. I think everyone would let it slide if the Spurs put in the game in cruise control and focus on Dallas on Friday. Not this year. Instead we fought back (awfully) and found a way to win this one, now 13-1. Just have to ask: Are we trying to get more than 72 wins or what?

    GO SPURS GO!!!

  • quincyscott

    @ Manuel

    Fouling out and cramping up are the kinds of things that happen when your team has no depth and your bigs are out of shape. Love is a horse, but he needs to shed twenty pounds. And Darko looked all night like he was ready to pass out.

    A win is a win. The Wolves had a twenty point lead and couldn’t hold it. They have had several fourth quarter collapses this season, and you could see them sort of wilt in those last few minutes. They need more depth and more experience to be able to win a game like that.

    As for the Spurs, they certainly did not play very well, and they shot very poorly. Really, looking at the box score, they dug themselves a hole in the first quarter and spent the rest of the game inching their way back into it. But you know, last season they would have definitely lost that game. There is something to be said for finding a way to win when you are not playing your best.

  • Charlie

    As sad as it sounds, we got thoroughly exposed by the wolves. Not only did the timberwolves played like an NBA contender but they were passing like an elite team and had the psychological edge from the onset of the bell. Besides outrebounding and outhussling the ball, the wolves front court bullied Tim Duncan, Blair, and Taigo into submission. In addition, instead of staying composed, Duncan got rattled in the second quarter and was called for a careless foul as the wolves ran up the score to lead by 21. It was then, that a question popped up in my head: Who does the Spurs go to when Manu, Parker, and Tim all can’t hit their shots? We came into the game thinking that the wolves were pushovers and that the game was a gimme. Complacency, whining and complaining set in when defense should be our calling card. Now comes the biggest concern: Are we emotionally, psychologically, and physically ready for the grind this coming week starting with the game versus Dallas (11/26) then onward with New Orleans(11/28), Golden State(11/30) and back to Minnesota on the 3rd of December. Or will we have another collapse of defense and start whining to the refs about the calls.

    For Effort: C+
    For Defense: C
    For Offense: An Atrocious F
    For Rebounds, 3 pointers and choice shots: F
    Emotionally, Physically, and Mentally Ready: F

    Exposed by the the 3rd worst team in the League with 4 wins and 11 loses. We should be very, very worried!!! We are relying too much on Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker to carry the team. Today, I see the Spurs B team outplaying the A team. I fear against Mavs and Hornets, we are going to get blown out! Right now, all I can think of is that we are OVER RATED! We should be playing better with a 13 and 1 record.

  • Jacques

    I watched this game, and it was the MOST craziest game.It’s interesting how Spurs came back despite not being consistent and Kevin Love finding his shots. Of all the players that defended Love, Tiago seems to be the least effective. Sure, Love was unstoppable, but it’s interesting how Tiago did not play 4th quarter, when the Spurs were making a run. I believe the Defense will be better. Go Spurs! way to not give up

  • junierizzle

    This win can help out a lot down the road. So I’ll take it. Yes the SPURS played horribly, but I’ll chalk it up to a bad shooting night.

    The SPurs actually outscored the Twolves in the 2nd,3rd and 4th quarter. Twolves had enough of a cushion built up in the first that lasted the whole game.
    I’m not surprised that DARKO went off. He played great against the Lakers too. And Klove is Klove by now.
    Yes, the SPurs probably should have lossed this one. But these are the kind of games that great teams win.

  • junierizzle

    Relax CHARLIE.

  • Hobson13

    November 24th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Charlie, this was a bad win, but I’m not sure it’s as bad as you’re indicating. First of all, there’s no way in hell Darko Milicic has another game like this anytime soon. He played out of his mind. Secondly, we were more than due to start missing some 3’s. We were just fortunate that we were still able to win while shooting so poorly. Thirdly, we still did score 113 points with all that bad shooting so you can’t give us an F on offense.

    Missing 3’s and having a bad rebounding night don’t worry me too much since Love really is a beast and the long ball is fickle. The one issue that really bothers me is our defense in the paint. Although I think Love and Milicic simply had great games, we have HUGE problems if this becomes a trend. I really do think it’s time for Pop to accelerate Splitter’s growth by consistently giving him more minutes.

    BTW, this could easily been a trap game for the Spurs. It really was simply a game between the East leading Magic and our arch rivals from Dallas. I’ll take the win, but we need big improvements in our defense.

  • LPspursFan


    In an 82-game season, EVERY team is going to have games like this, where things don’t go their way and a home team with a not-so-great record gets off to a hot start against a championship-contending, visiting team. But NBA games are 48 minutes, and our Spurs remembered that and kept fighting. There’s a reason even the best teams in an NBA season lose 20 games. The fact is, the streak isn’t going to last forever. The Spurs are going to lose some games. They’ll lose some to other contenders, and they’ll lose some to less-than-contending teams. Call me a kool-aid drinker, but the fact that the guys never stopped believing that they could win this game speaks volumes.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    I think a writer here said it previously that what the Spurs had against the Timberwolves was what we call a “regression to the mean.” And what a mean and ugly win it was. Another team facet is the fact that whether in victory or in defeat, San Antonio manages to stay on even keel mentally and emotionally, moving on to the next game.
    If the streak ends either with New Orleans or Dallas, so be it, but I don’t believe it’s going to snap just yet.

  • LPspursFan


    Good post. And this idea that losing to ANY team in the regular season is a sign that this or that team OWNS another team is absurd. Until a team puts together a streak of wins, like our Spurs have over the Wolves and Clippers, then you can say a team is owned. There are going to be nights when the bigs carry a team and nights when the guards and shooters carry a team. The best teams find ways to win under a variety of circumstances and are proven out over the course of 82 games. I think the players know that, but we as fans sometimes forget.

  • Jim Henderson

    November 24th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    “Poor Blair. He’s doing nothing to keep himself on the floor. A great rebounding rate doesn’t help the team if every other aspect of your game stinks and you’re glued to the pine.”

    If I didn’t know better I’d say you were joking. Mark my words: If we keep playing Blair 5 mpg. we’re going to start losing some games very soon You don’t win by getting out-rebounded for too long. We were around minus 10 on the boards in the last two games, both of which we almost lost, including to a crappy team tonight. At some point in the near future our 3-point shooting is going to regress to the mean, and if get out-rebounded by 8-10+ against some of the better teams we’re going to put up some “L’s” real quick. Blair gives us that rebounding edge, which is one of the most reliable & important stats that decides who wins and who loses on a consistent basis. And the idea that all the other facets of Blair’s game stink is laughable.

    November 24th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    “I hope the other Tim (Duncan) doesnt forget this game. He was just not feeling it. Outside of that big bucket late in the game, there was nuthin he did all nite.”

    How about grab 13 rebounds in 30 minutes. Get real! Duncan could almost be the father of Milicic & Love. Get your expectations in order. Duncan is not going to dominate in all facets of the game for 40 mpg. like he used to.

    November 24th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    “I think Blair needs to be an energy guy off the bench.”

    But why, the team’s 13-1 with him in the starting line-up?

    The reason the team almost lost tonight against a crappy team was almost entirely NOT due to Blair, as he only played 5 minutes and had 3 points & 2 rebounds, more than Bonner had in his 1st 19 minutes. And Splitter didn’t do much better.

    November 24th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    “I smell a loss coming either against Dallas or NO. I can’t statistically prove this, but I’ve followed sports (basketball and football) for a long time and can tell you that usually the last straw of a long winning streak is coming up with a miracle win against an inferior opponent. We shouldn’t have won this game tonight. In fact, our only saving grace was free throw attempts.”

    I agree, well said. Plus you’re not going to continue to win by being a minus 9 on the boards, as we’ve been over our last two games. You win by the three, you die by the three, and we almost died by the three tonight against an inferior opponent.

    “BTW, Blair played only 6 very bad minutes tonight. I wonder how long Pop keeps him in the starting lineup. He’s got to show some sort of improvement or he’ll be riding the pine for a long time with the way Splitter, Bonner, and Dyess are playing.”

    I don’t agree. He’s been struggling with foul trouble recently. I think he can clear that up with better preparation and focus. We almost lost our last two games because of a minus 9 on the boards. Bonner & Splitter do not have strong rebound rates, and we can’t afford to play the 36 year old McDyess too many minutes this early in the season. Also, Bonner will not be maintaining his 70% shooting from 3-point land. He’ll be heading back to near 40% (a regress to the mean) before too long, which will require some poor shooting nights along the way. Expect a bit more of tonight’s type shooting (2-6 – four misses were wide open looks), but probably for the most part minus the late game shots (not really known for that). I’d rather see more Splitter than more Bonner, but he doesn’t replace Blair’s rebounding, which is huge. This team will lose some games if Blair continues for too long on the pine. We’ll miss his steals & rebounds. As far as a starting line-up change? Why bother, we’re 13-1 with Blair in the starting line-up. Why mess with it.

  • Rad E. Cool


    Basketball Reference has a handy tool that can allow you to research all kinds of streaks. And I can tell you that the Spurs have had 13 game win streaks in 2007, 2004, 2003, 2003 and 1994. They’ve bettered that with a 15 win streak in 1995 and a 17 win streak in 1996.

    You can see it here:

  • Jim Henderson

    Rad E. Cool
    November 25th, 2010 at 12:36 am

    What’s interesting is that none of those streaks were in November, and the great majority occurred toward the end of the regular season (March/April).

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Jim

    Rebound rate is cool and all, but if you aren’t getting mins, then you aren’t converting the rebound rate into actual rebounds. Potential doesn’t win ball games, production does. Blair can’t produce because his shortcomings in other aspects of the game are keeping him on the bench.

  • Tobias

    At the end of the day we have to remember:
    1/ The Spurs won
    2/One year ago they would have suffer an embarrasing defeat
    3/ The record is getting better
    4/ This team has a “will to win” not seen for a long time
    5/ Next stop Dallas

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  • Gebo

    For Gomezd
    I agree that it was great seeing Neal come through with the three big clutch free throws. I think it will give him more confidence within himself and earn him some trust from his team mates. Both good things that can carry over into the future.

  • duaneofly

    Didn’t the T-wolves also give the Lakers a run for their money earlier in the year?
    Last year Pop would have mailed this game in half way through the second quarter, but I’m glad this year that he let the team grind it out and get another W.
    I think the fact that we were down by 20+, but were able to come back, force OT, and win it is a testament to how GOOD we are, not how bad we are.
    No team, no matter how great they are, is going to blow out the opposition every game.

  • duaneofly

    Oh yeah, what the hell is up with Bonner? Nailing, basically, the game winning 3 in OT. Plus the 7-7 game, and the 4-4 vs Orlando…
    Man if he keeps this up I’ll be eating crow for Christmas and Easter too!

  • rob

    Every really good team in this league will have games against a perceived inferior team that they lose. All of them. Lakers, Celtics, Magic, Spurs.

    It happens all the time. That’s why this game was a “good” win. Regardless of playing some of their least inspired/productive efforts…the Spurs pulled this out.

    Last year I would have been frustrated because you just knew the Spurs were going to lose and their was nothing to do about it but watch with a sinking feeling. I never had that feeling last night and was actually calm inside as the game was being played out. Even if they had lost I wasn’t going to be upset because of my first statement.

    And they pulled it out. Found something within themselves to not let this game go.

    A game to forget? I don’t know. I hope it is placed in memory bank for when they inevidibly do have another game such as this…there’s the knowledge and proof of… yes we can.

  • rob

    Happy Thanksgiving Everybody.

  • desispur

    On of the foundations of our defense is that we do not have to double on the low-post. Is it time to start getting help for Timmy? I hope not.

  • spursgermany

    winning tough vs Magic
    winning ugly vs Timberwolves
    winning by being a minus 9 on the boards

    we are 13-1 an still have Mavs,NOH to confirm or not how good we are.

    Pop knows already what needs to be done in November-December, and in the Spring

  • Bankshot21

    I didn’t catch the game until the 6 minute mark of the 4th quarter, so I can’t chime in too intelligently on the game before that point. I will point out that the Lakers also boasted a 4 or 5 point win against the Wolves. Milicic has game. If you guys are just finding that out shame on you. Love is at least a decade younger than Duncan, I mean…come on. Lol. I’m noticing many of you say “last year we would have…” I’m going to take that a step further and say the last 5 or 6 (I’m aware that includes our last banner year) Pop would have pulled all the starter by around midway through the 4th and conceded the game. That’s been my 1 and only knock on Pop and last night was refreshing. I didn’t see any of Blairs minutes but I will say this. Every team needs a spark plug off of the bench. I don’t know if any player on our team other than Manu fits that role. We have a super deep bench but with the insertion of both Manu and Blair to the starting 5 that’s what our team is missing. I would love to see Blair be that guy. Jim, I understand what you’re saying by not tinkering with the line up given the 13-1 record but does that also mean don’t harp on better defense? I mean our team has won 13 of 14 games playing averagee defense. According to your thinking of not toying with the line up then maybe we shouldn’t toy with the effort that’s been getting us W’s. That isn’t a good way to think is it? If we can improve our team we should be willing to at the very least try. Winning streak, superior record or not.

  • logtimefan4

    The Spurs were definitely outplayed in the first quarter but after that it was the TWolves who were outplayed. The level to which they were outplayed increased with each subsequent quarter.

    The stats don’t support the level of pessimism among the previous posts about the overall play of the Spurs. While the Wolves had more total rebounds, the Spurs bested them on the offensive boards. They (Spurs) had fewer turnovers and were more aggressive in getting fouled.

    In the NBA good teams can have bad first quarters. Teams like the Jazz have been praised for their ability to come back from large point deficits. The Spurs showed they can do it too.

    Duncan shot the ball nine times in the game. In years pass he could go 3 for 9 and then heat up and go 6 for 7 the rest of the game. Right now he is not getting the opportunity to put up the number of shots needed to balance out his average. Thus, it looks like he is slowing down on offense. However he had a good game with 7 offensive rebounds.

    More pick and roll and less 3 point shots would have made this game an easier win for the Spurs.

  • doggydogworld

    ESPN shows a -8 rebound differential. This is almost entirely due to the fact that the Spurs missed 56 field goal attempts vs. only 47 misses for the Wolves. Since the defense generally gets 3/4ths of misses our poor shooting accounts for a -7 rebound differential by itself. Note that we had 14 o-rebs to their 12. The issue was poor shooting, not poor rebounding.

  • Alix Babaie

    I can’t believe some of the ignorant posts on here after a ballsy win like the one the fellas in Silver and Black put up last night?! The Laker came into this arena prior and almost got their ass kicked too but you don’t see their fan base giving them “F”s for defense and 3 point shooting like Charlie did. His post has got to be the stupidest mutterings I have ever seen on this site!

    Look, all good things must come to an end but this team was DOWN 21 in the 3rd quarter, keep pounding the rock, rallied hard and put together solid defense, forced turnovers and made shots down the stretch! That kind of effort should be commended not complained about! Seriously, some of you guys should stop looking at the glass as half empty for once.

    This Wolves team is no longer an easy out for anybody. They have a slew of decent lottery player, Wes Johnson played well, Love had a 30/30 game earlier on, Darko has averaged 20 points per game in his last 8 games, Beasley has been awesome for them with a 42 point game this season and they have been competitive in many of their games. Factor in that Thanksgiving is the next day and that is a distraction as well, not to mention that the Spurs were also thinking about these next 2 games along with the hard fought win against the Magic and this game had “trap” written all over it.

    Shit, how about being thankful on Thanksgiving fellas?! This time last year we were just about a .500 team who had championship aspirations but were a 7 seed. Now, we have guys figuring it out, playing well, delivering on the promise when we signed them and we are getting contributions from all of our rookies.

    If some of you guys can’t see that and can only see how we barely beat a “bad” T-Wolves team, then there is no hope for you because the T-Wolves are not a bad team.

    The 2010-11 Spurs are a team with a ton of resolve and should be congratulated for it not condemned.

    Happy Thanksgiving and let’s see another W go up against the Mavericks this Friday!

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    November 25th, 2010 at 12:08 am

    “We almost lost our last two games because of a minus 9 on the boards.”

    I agree with Doggyworld when he says that our rebounding differential against the Twolves was more a function of us missing a huge number of shots. Jim, you and I both agree on Blair’s longterm potential, but you have to admit that Blair was not any better in game #14 than he was in game #1. He’s logged only 16 in the last two games because he struggles defensively and has struggled mightily on the offensive end. I’m not prepared to pull the plug on Blair just yet, but at what point do we move him to the bench? When we have a “starter” play only 6-10 minutes per game, why even bother starting him?

    Again, I think Blair’s longterm potential is somewhere along the lines of Boozer, Millsap, and probably a better version of Brandon Bass. However, so far, he’s given very little indication that this season is his breakthrough year. If I were Pop, I’d give him until games #20-25 to figure things out and if he still played like this then I’d move him to the bench in favor of developing Splitter.

    Rad E. Cool
    November 25th, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Nice post! Interesting site.