Kawhi Leonard is still out and age and injuries are taking their toll on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but the San Antonio Spurs’ depth is what is keeping them afloat.
Nothing seems to be working for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
San Antonio looks to deal Minnesota a 15th consecutive defeat as it begins a three-game road trip Saturday night.
Leonard hasn’t played since Dec. 15 after tearing a ligament in his shooting hand, and the Spurs (22-15) have gone just 5-7 without him. Parker missed 13 of 16 with a hamstring problem before starting the last two and playing limited minutes.
Duncan needs regular rest, and Ginobili sat out the second half of Friday’s 100-95 win over Phoenix with back spasms as San Antonio won for the third time in four games despite those issues.
Parker didn’t play after the 4:24 mark of the third quarter and Duncan played less than a minute in the fourth, but Danny Green finished with 20 points.
The Spurs scored 41 points in the final 12 minutes – a season high for a single quarter – after entering the fourth trailing by 10. They blew a 14-point lead after letting an 18-point advantage slip away in a 105-104 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.
”It’s tough after playing so well in the first half,” Duncan said. ”And then we give it up in that third quarter and you get the feeling, `Here we go again.’ We’ve had some really tough ones, some really close ones, where one or two possessions change the entire game. Good to grab this one and trying to get our ship back on the right path.”
Patty Mills had 15 points off the bench and Cory Joseph scored nine of his 11 in the fourth.
”To pull it through at the end was big for us," Joseph said. "We executed, we played good defense, and it got us over the hump.”
Minnesota (5-30) is tied with New York for the fewest wins in the league and continues to struggle no matter who is in the lineup. Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic have missed extended time with ankle injuries, and the Timberwolves recently dealt with an illness that hit multiple players and forced coach Flip Saunders to miss a game.
Guard Mo Williams sat out Friday’s 98-84 loss at Milwaukee because of a sprained ankle, but Saunders said Williams could return for this contest.
Andrew Wiggins finished with 20 points and seven rebounds while Thaddeus Young and Shabazz Muhammad scored 12 apiece, but Minnesota moved closer to its franchise-record 18-game losing streak set in 2011.
Wiggins has averaged 22.2 points while shooting 49.5 percent over his last six. He didn’t have any turnovers against the Bucks after tying his season worst with six in Wednesday’s loss to Phoenix.
”It’s a good thing for me, keeping my confidence up high," Wiggins said. "But I’d trade (the personal achievements) for a win any day."
Parker scored 28 points in a 121-92 win over the Wolves on Nov. 21, then Duncan finished with 13 and 10 boards in a 123-101 victory Dec. 6 as Parker sat out.
Wiggins scored 20 points while shooting 8 for 27 in those meetings combined.