Preview: Timberwolves at Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs pushed the reset button on an up-and-down first quarter to the NBA season with five wins during a season-high six-game homestand last week then took that momentum on the road and produced a big win at Orlando on Wednesday.
The Spurs return home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Friday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio carrying a little swagger to match their hot streak and a mostly rested lineup after winning six of their past seven games without needing their front-line players late in those contests.
The Spurs set a bevy of milestones and marks with their 129-90 win over Orlando as San Antonio’s past four wins have all been by 25 or more points, making them fourth team all-time to attain that mark, joining the 1971-72 Bucks (five straight), the 1974-75 Warriors and 1992-93 Rockets.
San Antonio, the league’s best 3-point shooting team, canned 12 of 19 (63.2 percent) from beyond the arc in the win and outshot the Magic 64.9 percent to 38.2 percent overall.
The Spurs overall shooting percentage was the highest ever against the Magic in Orlando. “Obviously we had a great night shooting,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, “When you shoot that well it gives you a good chance to win the game.”
The win was also San Antonio’s 850th road victory in team history, making them the ninth NBA franchise to reach that number. The Spurs joined the league in 1976; all eight other teams to achieve that number of wins have been in the NBA since at least 1968.San Antonio’s 49.6 win-percentage on the road (850-863) remains the highest of any team in NBA history.
LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 20 points to lead the Spurs in the win over Orlando. Marco Belinelli scored 18 for San Antonio, while DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes added 17 points each and Rudy Gay hit for 14 points.
The Spurs won away from San Antonio for the first time since Nov. 26 in Chicago and improved to 5-10 on the road. San Antonio is 12-5 at home, where it’s played with tons of confidence and employed the kind of defensive pressure its been known for through the years.
The Spurs have held their past six opponents under 100 points, the longest streak by any team in the NBA this season.
“We didn’t change the strategy at all,” Popovich said. “We watched film, talked about some things, and I guess they listened. Or maybe the other teams just all missed shots every night. I don’t know.”
Minnesota heads to the Alamo City after a 129-123 home overtime loss to Detroit on Wednesday in which the Timberwolves led by 14 points heading to the fourth quarter.
“You have to react to what’s going on, and we didn’t, so that is disappointing,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said about giving up the lead late in the game. “Detroit had 78 (points) after three, and then a 40-point fourth quarter. When all we had to do was get a stop, we give up a second shot. That can’t happen.”
“Building a lead isn’t easy, and we just gave it away,” Wiggins said after the loss. “But we had a chance to win with one last rebound. We needed it. and didn’t get it.”
The Timberwolves have lost five of their past six games and six of the nine they’ve played since waylaying San Antonio 128-89 on in Minneapolis on Nov. 28, one of the Spurs’ worst losses of the Popovich era.