Gameday Preview: Spurs @ Timberwolves 3/12/13
The San Antonio Spurs' depth has allowed for a relatively successful first week without Tony Parker.
They likely can give the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves fits without him as well.
Visiting San Antonio seeks a fourth win in five games since Parker's injury by earning a 20th victory in the last 22 meetings with Minnesota on Tuesday night. Parker suffered a sprained ankle on March 1, but the Spurs - save for Friday's 136-106 home loss to Portland - have done pretty well without him. San Antonio (49-15) pulled to within a victory of its 15th straight 50-win campaign in a non-lockout-shortened season by beating Oklahoma City 105-93 on Monday.
The Spurs are 6-2 overall this season without Parker in the lineup thanks to their role players stepping up. Tiago Splitter had 21 points and 10 rebounds while Kawhi Leonard scored 17 points and Danny Green added 16 on Monday.
Manu Ginobili (12 points) and Boris Diaw (11) contributed off the bench in a balanced effort.
"We had a lot of great play from the bench," said Tim Duncan, who scored 13 points. "That second squad came in there and kind of changed the tempo and took control of the game."
Splitter had his second double-double in three games for the Spurs, who are 21-4 since beating Minnesota 106-88 on Jan. 13.
"I think everybody played well," Splitter said. "I was one of them. You play well and you feel better. You want to play well against these kinds of teams, these playoff teams. Of course, we've got to stay humble. It's one more game."
It doesn't appear likely that they'll suffer a letdown against the Timberwolves. Green scored a career-high 28 points in the Spurs' 104-94 win Feb. 6 to end a two-game road skid in the series.
Minnesota (21-39) has the fewest wins in the Western Conference and has lost seven of eight after falling 100-77 to Dallas on Sunday. Derrick Williams had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are 6-25 since Kevin Love broke his hand again Jan. 3.
"You have to find a way. The coaching staff is trying to find a way to come up with a game plan," coach Rick Adelman said. "We are trying figure out what else can we do. There is no easy answer but you have got to. There are 20-plus games left and we have to find a way to get something going."
Minnesota didn't do itself any favors by shooting just 36.4 percent from the field. It has hit only 39.2 percent of its field goals over the last seven games.
"You can defend the (heck) out of people, but if you can't make shots in this league you're in trouble," Adelman said. "That's what's happening to us. Game after game, we just really struggle to put the ball in the basket."
It likely won't get any easier against a Spurs team that prides itself on defense. San Antonio is holding opponents to 43.9 percent shooting on the season, with Minnesota hitting only 38.8 percent from the field over this season's two meetings.
"No team ends up being a really good team without playing good 'D,' " coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's always about defense. If you don't play good defense, you're nothing in this league."
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