San Antonio Spurs 107, Minnesota Timberwolves 96: The Spurs win behind a big first quarter
The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 16th consecutive time. The Timberwolves will have to wait until next season for another crack at the Spurs. And the Spurs are happy to wait.
â€œIâ€™m tired of playing them,â€ Gregg Popovich said after the game. â€œTheyâ€™ve been harder for us to play than anybody so far, actually.â€
The Timberwolves destroyed San Antonio on the glass in the previous three contests. Last night, the Spurs battled hard for every rebound and came up one shy of Minnesota, 46-47. But really, the game was over long before anyone took notice of that tally.
San Antonio won this game on the strength of the first quarter, which they rode to a commandingÂ 36-25 lead. The two team’s played to a tie for the remainder of the game. Â On the game, the Spurs had 28 assists on 37 FGM, and that pattern was set early as the Spurs shared the ball and shot their way into an early lead that they would never surrender.
The first quarter was a microcosm of all that has made the Spurs great this seasonâ€”strong guard play, excellent three point shooting,Â feistyÂ team defense, and everyone sharing the ball. Â The rest of the game was less impressive, but not necessarily poor. The Spurs played well defensively, but gave themselves over to a general sloppiness. The Spurs finished the game with 17 TO, two more than the Wolves.
My takeaway from this game is that the Spurs are an amazing 32-6 and have yet to play many full games of outstanding basketball. I continue to think San Antonio’s record is misleading. But not in the sense that they’re setting everyone up for disappointment. It’s the opposite, actually. The Spurs could play much better.
It’s hard to imagine the Spurs shooting the three ball better, but Â every other aspect of San Antonio’s game is inconsistent, especially the team’s defense. And the Spurs could eliminate many careless turnovers, and, in general, they could stick to the ball movement plot a little more closely. This was the story last night: tremendous first quarter play followed by a train of merely adequate basketball.
Again, they’re good. The Spurs are deserving of their league-leading record. But they’re also something of a tease. I keep expecting them to turn the corner, like during last night’s sizzling first quarter. I keep expecting the Spurs to tie it down for 48 minutes and go on a put-the-world-on-notice tear. It just hasn’t happened yet.