Not only have the San Antonio Spurs been perfect at the AT&T Center, but they’ve also been dominant at home in their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That word also could describe Kawhi Leonard’s defensive effort on Andrew Wiggins.
Seeking the Western Conference’s best home start in 30 years, the Spurs go after their 21st win in the past 22 games there against the struggling Timberwolves on Monday night.
San Antonio (26-6) is closing in on the single-season club record of 22 straight home victories after extending a franchise mark with its 26th in a row overall there.
Leonard led the way with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in Saturday’s 101-86 victory over Denver. The Spurs have averaged 110.1 points in their last seven at AT&T Center and have given up an NBA-low 87.6 per game in their 17 at home.
Leonard is again playing the role of stopper after winning the Defensive Player of the Year award last season. Opposing players have shot just 37.8 percent against him, the league’s third-lowest mark among non-post players who have faced at least 200 shots.
Wiggins is averaging a team-high 20.8 points after earning Rookie of the Year honors last season, but he knows all too well how tough Leonard can be. He’s scored just 10.8 per game on 29.2 percent shooting in four career meetings in which both have played.
Wiggins missed 13 of 17 shots in those contests when Leonard was the closest defender. He finished with 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting overall in Wednesday’s 108-83 home defeat.
"It’s the same thing every night for me, just depends on the matchup," Leonard explained. "Just having the mindset of playing defense every night helps me."
Leonard led the way with 19 points and six rebounds as San Antonio shot 53.7 percent Wednesday. The Spurs have averaged 116.6 points on 54.6 percent shooting — including a 46.8 mark from beyond the arc — over a five-game winning streak against Minnesota (11-19).
San Antonio appears to be good position to become the first West team to win its first 18 home games since Houston in 1985-86. It has won 20 of the past 21 there against Minnesota, which is on the verge of its fourth four-game losing streak of the season.
Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and eight rebounds Saturday, while Wiggins bounced back to score 19 in a 102-88 home loss to Indiana. Towns had 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting Wednesday in his first career matchup with Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Duncan and Manu Ginobili are expected to return after both sat out Saturday following an 88-84 loss at Houston on Christmas Day. This will also be the 45th regular-season meeting between future Hall of Famers Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
The Wolves will have to do a better job on the boards after San Antonio held a 47-31 advantage in last week’s matchup. They’ve also allowed an average of 107.7 points while letting opponents shoot 50 percent or better in all three games during their skid.
"Everybody thinks defense is easy," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "It’s hard because all you see is pick and roll; all you see is guys quick enough to beat you off the dribble."
Zach LaVine has been a bright spot against the Spurs, averaging 19 points while hitting 7 of 12 from 3-point range in the past four matchups.