San Antonio got off to a hot start led by All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and stifling shots from Wolves, and despite an excellent execution down the stretch, the teams gave viewers extra basketball overtime. The Spurs were able to pair just enough saves on the Wolves all-star while also getting clutch shots from DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson and Patty Mills to hold Minnesota. The loss pushed Minnesota further into the basement of the Western Conference. Spurs have moved their road record to 4-1 this season and 3-0 on this road trip.
Towns (25 points and 13 rebounds) and Malik Beasley (29 points and 4 rebounds) lead the way for the Timberwolves. San Antonio was led by the best scores of the season DeMar DeRozan (38 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists) and Dejounte Murray (22 points and 14 rebounds – also a season high). The teams continue their brief two-game streak tomorrow night and we can only hope for a similar type of effort and result.
- Would the lime green of the Wolves jerseys make a good Fiesta color?
- Coming into the game, LaMarcus Aldridge placed 65th in the league in post-up touches: the first proof he takes up more space than ever off the paint.
- Lonnie Walker IV appeared to heed timely improvement suggestions. He finished a first half of training on the basic disc worthy of his predecessor Sean Elliott with a left bet.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: Thanks to an awkward execution in the half court, Johnson fearlessly took the team’s first three shots (!) Behind the arc (twice behind the clock) to make two. On one of Johnson’s patented driving layups, the Wolves bench shouted emphatically at Juancho Hernangomez “no fault!” At the end of the first half, Johnson dragged three Wolves to the rim with him to get even more free throws.
- DeMar DeRozan’s footwork is something to see. In the second period, DeRozan played Jake Layman on a rope while shooting a foul and free throws. He followed that up with a great eurostep layup – by meaningful contact without appeal from the arbitrators. If DeRozan drew just 70% of the number of fouls and free throws his mentor Kobe Bryant won …
- Night sequence: Halfway through the third, Murray drew several Wolves to him in transition and found a DeRozan in sequence for a soaring dunk.
- Devin’s deeds: At the start of the fourth quarter, Vassell rounded up a rebellious Miss Mills in the middle of a thicket of wolves and quickly found Patty for an open three.
- While other NBA teams have placed title banners behind their baskets, Minnesota has… four luxury cars.
- Wolves analyst Jim Petersen has praised Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon as the toughest opponent he has had to prepare for as a former Lynx coach. Petersen then compared Pop to “Gandalf the Wizard”.
- Wolves rookie Anthony Edwards seems still to have figured out the speed of the live game – slamming three bricks on the glass and looking unsure of himself in the first half. He looked more stable and confident in the second, however.
- For Spurs fans of a certain age, doesn’t Vassell’s shooting form remind you of former swingman Willie Anderson?
- Galvanized by Towns’ return, Wolves were able to find enough space at the edge and at a distance – with Malik Beasley the biggest beneficiary of his center’s playmaking. Johnson of San Antonio scored 10 points with an excellent shot and his bench temporarily closed the deficit to two at one point. Naz Reid capped a scorching Wolves quarterback (69% and 6v6 of three) with a praying shot to take it to 34-28.
- DeRozan got on the scoresheet often to start second. San Antonio played the defensive passing lanes better – briefly took the lead halfway through a 9-0 run. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the half-time and San Antonio left it by two – thanks to favorable free throws and disparity in turnovers – while resisting Minnesota’s hot shots .
- Walker IV’s pullback three after the break briefly gave San Antonio their biggest lead of the night. DeRozan continued his shot from all over the court, while Towns won against the Spurs greats in paint and on the offensive boards with some success. Minnesota drew the Spurs in the bonus and Aldridge in trouble. Rudy Gay hit his first four shots to help maintain the San Antonio lead. Wolves ended the period with a 10-0 run (highlighted by two inexplicable 3-point Reid) to regain the lead.
- A pair of Mills three allowed Spurs to briefly regain the lead. The two teams traded leads for most of the final stanza. Towns acted as a Tim Duncan-style distributor from the mail, while San Antonio relied heavily on DeRozan’s creativity.
- In the frenzied final minutes, Spurs foe Ricky Rubio redirected a rebound to Edwards for an open three to make Wolves a two. Aldridge converted 1 to 2 from the line. DeAngelo Russell nailed an open sweater. DeRozan converted consecutive high-difficulty shots into the paint and rim to momentarily put Spurs up two. The towns connected on a late three to set them up by one and DeRozan countered with another difficult float. Russell hit a clutch three to make it 113-111. Fouled on a quick workout in the teeth of the Wolves defense, DeRozan converted the two free throws to tie him up. Russell was unable to log over Mills on Minnesota’s latest regulatory plan.
- In overtime, Aldridge was able to convince Towns to commit a traveling offense. Spurs have worked around the Wolves area with a Murray three, a Johnson putback and a Mills three. A tip-dunk from Towns reduced Spurs’ lead to four. DeRozan sort of found Mills in the left corner for an absolutely last possible microsecond jumper to make it 125-119. Beasley logged in remotely to cut him off to three. Aldridge redirected a stray pass from Edwards through the air and Mills descended with the carom to secure the victory.
For a Timberwolves fan perspective, visit Canis Hoopus.
Both teams return to Target Center in less than 24 hours to complete both sets of games on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. CDT.