Coming into the fourth quarter on Wednesday in Minnesota, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green had scored 14 points through the first three quarters. Fast-forward through 12 minutes of the fourth quarter and Green alone had scored 14 points in the final quarter by making 4-of-5 three pointers as the Spurs defeated the Timberwolves 104-94.
While Green was gaining all of the attention creating separation for his team in a rather close game in the final quarter, his All-Star teammate Tony Parker was “quietly” putting in 10 points himself in the final quarter to finish the game with 31 points and eight assists.
Putting the ball into the basket seemed to be an issue for both teams through three quarters of basketball as both teams had combined to take 118 shots in three quarters and they only managed to combine for 132 points.
The fourth quarter however was a different story. Maybe it was the Spurs’ rare three-day break, but in the fourth, the offense finally began to move with consistency as the team put 36 points on the scoreboard and outscored the Timberwolves 36-30 in the final period.
Here are a few other key points in the Spurs’ win over the Wolves.
Green sets career highs
Overall Green finished the game shooting 8-of-12 from three point range. He was responsible for eight of the Spurs’ 10 made 3-pointers in the game. With the eight made 3-pointers and 28 points, Green set a new career high for 3-point baskets made and points in a game. Although the 3-pointers are where he did most of his damage, Green was also able to score on a few layup attempts by playing defense and gaining extra possessions.
Without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Parker once again shined to carry his team to the victory. Whether it was his first quarter where he scored eight points by knocking down jumpers or getting into the paint, Parker was instrumental in leading his team to the victory by allowing his teammates to thrive while he would score when he needed to.
Kawhi Leonard also began the game with six points, and his influence in the game would continue throughout the night as he scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. One of the more impressive features from Leonard was several of his mid-range jumpers and his play in the low block.
Pekovic was solid
Though he plays for the Timberwolves, Nikola Pekovic had a productive night down in the low block. The big man scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on just 5-of-9 field goals. The Spurs could not keep him out of the paint, as he made 11-of-12 free throws on the night.
Another Splitter double-figure game
In just 25 minutes of play, Tiago Splitter once again scored in double-figures with 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds. A lot of Splitter’s minutes were used by DeJuan Blair in the first half and Aron Baynes in the second half, yet the Brazilian still was able to score in double-figures.
Get well soon Manu
With Ginobili out, the bench has really been struggling. They shot 6-of-20 in the game and only contributed 12 points combined. One highlight from the bench was rookie Nando De Colo who collected six assists in 13 minutes of play. He was a key contributor to getting Green open in the fourth quarter with his penetration into the lane and kick-out passing ability.
Taking care of the ball
One reason the Spurs were able to go back-and-forth with the Wolves throughout the game and never fall too far behind was because they were able to take care of the ball. The Spurs only turned the ball over 13 times in the game, which helped them overcome a poor shooting night.
Detroit Basketball ahead
With the win, the Spurs have begun their 2013 Rodeo Toad Trip voyage at 1-0. Their next stop will be in Detroit to face the Pistons on Friday. Though the Pistons are 18-32, they are 13-14 at home, but are currently on a 3-game losing streak.
Where they stand
The Spurs improved to 39-11 with their defeat over the Timberwolves. On the road, their record also moved to 17-9 while they currently hold the NBA’s largest winning streak of 11-straight games. Though it was a close game until the fourth quarter, where the Spurs won by 10 points, the team advanced to 21-3 on the season in wins by 10 or more points. Against below .500 teams like the Timberwolves, the Spurs are now 21-1.
The bench, quite frankly, sucks right now and that is COMPLETELY due to Neal. All of his fastbreak 3's kill so many possessions and his complete lack of ability to dribble/pass makes him utterly useless for the offense. I would much rather see Joseph and de Colo get Neal's minutes and develop into the great players they can become. Oh, not to mention Neal's defense is atrocious.