Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/23

Game 1: Thursday, December 23rd
Game 2: Wednesday, March 16th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 20th

Timberwolves 82

(15-10, 8-7 away)

Spurs 96

(21-6, 12-1 home)

7:00 PM ET, December 23, 2004

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 29 22 14 1782
SA 26 17 22 3196

Top Performers

Min: K. Garnett 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

SA: M. Ginobili 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Minnesota drops fourth straight road game

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs found a good way to beat Minnesota: take Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell out of the Timberwolves' offense.

After a lethargic first half in which they fell behind by double digits, the Spurs came out of the locker room with shooting accuracy and tight defense to rally for a 96-82 win over Minnesota on Thursday night.

Garnett managed just one basket in the second half and shot 4-for-16 in the game, while Sprewell and Cassell combined to go 4-for-13.

Despite the poor performance from their big-name players, the Timberwolves shot 53 percent in the first half. After the break, they made only 27 percent of their shots.

"We lost the game in the first two minutes of the second half," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "Instead of controlling the tempo, we let them take control of the game and get back in it and they made it difficult to play them."

San Antonio made 11 of its 18 shots in the fourth quarter to break open a tie game. Minnesota made only three of 14 shots in the period.

"Sometimes Xs and Os are relative," said Manu Ginobili, who led San Antonio with 22 points. "If you are aggressive and show them that it won't be easy, I think that's where the game changed."

Garnett said the Spurs helped themselves by quickening the pace, but he also took some of the blame for not being more of an offensive force when it counted.

"I take it upon myself to get guys shots and get guys in a rhythm," said Garnett, who scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds. "Maybe I sacrificed a little bit too much tonight."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also challenged struggling center Rasho Nesterovic at halftime to step up his game.

Nesterovic, who missed all five of his shots and had only one rebound in the first half, responded by making three baskets, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots during San Antonio's comeback.

"Pop likes to use that to try to get you mad to make you react and show him he's wrong," said Tony Parker, who had 19 points for the Spurs.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.

Wally Szczerbiak had 22 for Minnesota, which dropped its fourth straight road game. Troy Hudson added 14 points, and Michael Olowokandi had 12 rebounds.

The Spurs, coming off a six-point loss Wednesday in Orlando in which they missed 13 of 26 free throws, made 16 of 19 from the line against Minnesota.

Ginobili hit a pair of 3-pointers as San Antonio opened up a 14-8 lead, their biggest of the first half.

The Timberwolves missed five of their first seven shots, but then made 12 of their next 13 attempts.

Hudson made a 17-footer near the end of the first quarter for his first basket. He followed with a layup and two 3-pointers to start the second, and then found Mark Madsen for a three-point play that put Minnesota ahead 40-28.

The Spurs got within 47-43 on a three-point play by Parker on a drive, but Garnett made two free throws and a 15-footer to close the half at 51-43.

Game notes

After giving up 22 points on turnovers in Wednesday's loss to Orlando, San Antonio allowed only nine points on 10 turnovers. ... The 82 points matched Minnesota's season low. ... The Timberwolves are 6-8 when scoring fewer than 100 points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 82 96
FGM-FGA 29-71 (.408) 37-81 (.457)
3PM-3PA 5-13 (.385) 6-10 (.600)
FTM-FTA 19-23 (.826) 16-19 (.842)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-43 11-39
Assists 16 22
Turnovers 19 10
Steals 5 11
Blocks 4 5
Fast Break Points 4 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (1/0) 19 (0/0)
Largest Lead 12 15

Top Performers

San Antonio
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 15
Reb: 10
Ast: 9
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Manu Ginobili Ginobili
Points: 22
Reb: 5
Ast: 0
Stl: 3
Blk: 1