Spurs hit 19 3-pointers to sink Timberwolves 124-98
SAN ANTONIO — There truly is no place like home lately for the San Antonio Spurs, especially after some struggles at the start of the month.
Bryn Forbes scored 22 points and the Spurs set season highs with 19 3-pointers and 36 assists in a 124-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
San Antonio won for the seventh time in eight games, and held an opponent under 100 points for the seventh straight time. It’s a needed change for the Spurs, who opened the month by losing three of four by 30-plus points.
“We had a lot of ups and downs at the beginning of the season, which was expected,” San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan said. “We just stayed patient, continued to chip away at it. We had a great opportunity to come back home in December and having a home stand to try to get our rhythm going and that’s where we are at.”
The Spurs have led by at least 20 points in each of its last eight games, and joined the 1972 Milwaukee Bucks as the only teams in league history to have five straight wins by 25-plus points.
Minnesota, which has lost 11 straight in San Antonio, has dropped six of seven games overall.
Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points to lead the Timberwolves, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Robert Covington had 13 each.
The Spurs’ run of blowout losses began Nov. 28 at Minnesota with a 128-89 defeat. San Antonio has since adjusted its schemes to help the team defensively and the changes have made an impact.
“Honestly, I’m enjoying it more, its making things lot easier (since the changes),” Forbes said. “Especially playing a lot more as a team now. Everybody is in the right positions, and I think we’re going the right way. We struggled for a bit, and I think we’re finally kind of figuring it out.”
The defensive energy is also helping the team offensively.
San Antonio was 19 for 33 on 3-pointers and shot 53 percent from the field.
Marco Belinelli had 17 points and Davis Bertans added 15 while combining to shoot 10 for 16 on 3s.
“(The Timberwolves) were really, really helping and shifting on defense,” Bertans said. “We had some good looks already after the first pass but then driving and kicking we could find pretty anything wide open.”
Minnesota also gave up 14 3s to Sacramento on Monday and 20 to Detroit on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to close out with high hands and run them off the 3-point line and stay to the scouting report,” Wiggins said. “We say some people shouldn’t get 3s and run them off the line. We’ve just got to keep running them off the line and not short step it.”
Minnesota only led for 22 seconds off a 3-foot hook by Taj Gibson with 6:55 remaining in the first quarter for an 11-10 advantage.
Rudy Gay scored 14 points, DeMar DeRozan added 12 and LaMarcus Aldridge 10 as the Spurs were able to rest their starters for much of the fourth quarter.
Timberwolves starting point guard Derrick Rose did not play in the second half due to a sore left ankle. Rose had four points, two rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes. Rose, who is unsure if he will be available for Sunday’s game at Oklahoma City, said his ankle hurt prior to the game.
“Just sore, really sore,” Rose said. “I’ll take it as a case of me not really listening to my body.”
Timberwolves: Jeff Teague missed his third straight game due to left foot soreness. Teague was averaging 9.3 points and 10.1 assists in December prior to the injury. … Minnesota did not have a single player score in double figures in the first half. Tyus Jones was the team’s leading scorer at the time with eight points. … The Timberwolves are 0-6 when scoring fewer than 100 points.
Spurs: San Antonio, which plays Houston on Saturday, is 4-7 in back-to-backs. The Spurs are 0-5 on the second night of a back-to-back. … Aldridge made his second 3-pointer of the season at the close of the third quarter. Aldridge is 2 for 12 on 3s this season. … San Antonio’s previous high for 3-pointers made was 15 against the Lakers on Oct. 22. … The Spurs made 10 3s in the first half for the second straight game. Their season high for a half is 11 against New Orleans.
LIGHTING IT UP
Belinelli doesn’t have any aspirations of competing in the 3-point contest at the All-Star Game on Feb. 17 in Charlotte.
“Nah, I don’t know. I just want to win (games),” Belinelli said. “I already won one (3-point contest) in New Orleans. I’m OK with that. I would like to win a championship, I think that’s more important.”
HAVE A SEAT
The Spurs’ blowouts have afforded DeRozan the luxury of sitting for most of the fourth quarter, which he is enjoying.
“It’s great to sit out the fourth quarters, be able to rest, especially for me,” DeRozan said. “At one point I think I was leading the league in minutes. Being able to sit out some fourth quarters and just to be out there and cheer them guys on is always the fun part.”
Timberwolves: At Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Spurs: At Houston on Saturday night.