The San Antonio Spurs and visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, a pair of teams going in opposite directions in over the past week, square off on Friday in the Alamo City as they begin play in the NBA’s in-season tournament.
The Timberwolves head to San Antonio carrying a four-game winning streak and on the heels of a 122-101 home victory over New Orleans on Wednesday. Minnesota also defeated powerhouses Denver and Boston in building its streak, and all five of its wins this season have come at home.
Anthony Edwards led Minnesota over New Orleans with 26 points. Karl-Anthony Towns added 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting and Rudy Gobert registered a double-double with 17 points and 21 rebounds. Minnesota’s defense was stifling, coming a late-3-pointer away from keeping its opponent under 100 points for the third time in the last four games.
“If we’re playing defense the way we’re playing right now, we’re a tough team to beat,” Towns said. “We have the talent to find ways to score offensively so if we can continue to play defense like this and find that one percent to get better every day, we’ll be very happy at the end of the year.”
The Timberwolves led by 28 points at halftime and shot 54.9 percent from the floor, including a 15-of-37 showing (40.5 percent) from beyond the arc.
“I like the fact that we didn’t let up,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “Kind of played them even (in the second half), but we didn’t have any mental lapses. There was no immaturity out there when it came to screwing around with the game when we had it right where we wanted it. So that was good. I thought guys were again locked in.”
The Spurs travel home after a 126-105 loss at the New York Knicks on Wednesday. San Antonio has lost three straight outings, including the past two on the road by an average of 31 points when they were blown out in the early going.
The Spurs allowed New York to score the game’s first 13 points on Wednesday and never got closer than seven the rest of the way. Jeremy Sochan scored 16 points in the loss while Malaki Branham and Victor Wembanyama had 14 apiece. Tre Jones added 12 points off the bench and Zach Collins and Doug McDermott hit for 11 points apiece.
“The rough start definitely doesn’t help, and tonight it was both halves,” Jones said. “We got off to a slow start, and we were digging ourselves out of the hole the entire time.”
Wembanyama missed his first seven shots from the field and had just six points over the first three quarters. New York had already forged a 93-63 lead late in the third quarter before the rookie phenom hit his first field goal.
“What’s good is we’re bringing energy all the time, so this is a good start,” Wembanyama said afterward. “We have great potential defensively. I know in the past games, especially in Phoenix, we’ve seen great defensive sequences. We’re just all getting it together.”
The teams split their four-game season series in 2022-23.
–Field Level Media