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Garnett outplays Duncan, but Spurs top T-Wolves

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs had their usual
troubles with their free throws on Friday night, until the game was
on the line.

Manu Ginobili hit all six of his foul shots in the final period,
including four in the final 25 seconds, and San Antonio held on for
an 83-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Spurs were 4-for-11 at the line in the first three quarters,
but shot 7-for-8 in the final period.

"In the fourth quarter, I just forgot about everything," said
Ginobili, who finished with 21 points in a reserve role. "I was
just trying to win the game and they fell in."

A long jumper by Wally Szczerbiak cut San Antonio's lead to
69-68 with more than 6 minutes remaining. Tony Parker, who had 23
points, then made a floater in the lane and Ginobili had a short
jumper and a pair of free throws to push the Spurs' lead to seven.

Minnesota was within 79-74 with a minute left, but Ginobili hit
two more foul shots and Kevin Garnett missed a finger roll and a
layup.

Garnett, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds, picked up
his fifth foul late in the third. He sat out until 8:42 of the
fourth, but managed to score only two points on free throws in the
quarter.

Neither team broke 40 percent shooting in the fourth. The
Timberwolves had five turnovers in the period, while San Antonio
had only one.

"[The Spurs] played excellent defense but a lot of the
turnovers were self-induced," said Minnesota coach Dwane Casey,
whose team finished with 20 turnovers. "We have got to get over
this hump and take care of the basketball."

Tim Duncan also struggled while being defended by Garnett and
Michael Olowokandi. He had 12 points on 5-for-19 shooting and 14
rebounds.

"I don't know if I really contested his shots the way I would
have liked to," Olowokandi said. "He's one of the best players in
the league and he brings out the best in players when you play
him."

Bruce Bowen scored a season-high 14 points for San Antonio,
though his stronger performance was defending Szczerbiak on the
perimeter.

"Every game I can disappear offensively because we have so many
great scorers on our team," said Bowen, who shot 6-for-8,
including a 3-pointer. "If I'm contributing [with points], then
I'm doing my job."

Marko Jaric had 16 points, and Szczerbiak added 15 for the
Timberwolves, five points below his season average.

Jaric made his first three shots, including two 3-pointers, as
the Timberwolves took an early 12-7 lead. Parker countered by
scoring nine of the Spurs' first 13 points.

The score was tied at 22 after the first quarter, and 7 minutes
later, a tip-in by Garnett made it 29-28 Minnesota.

The scoring pace picked up after that, as the teams swapped
leads until a lay-up by Parker tied it at 39 with less than a
minute before halftime.

After shooting better than 50 percent in the first, the
Timberwolves fell off to 6-for-20 (30 percent) in the second.
Duncan made only one of his seven attempts in the half.

Parker got the rebound off his own missed layup and found Duncan
coming down the lane for a dunk that gave San Antonio a 50-45 lead
midway through the third quarter.

A drive by Jaric and a short jumper by Garnett cut the
difference to 51-50, but Garnett picked up his fifth foul about a
minute later and sat down.

Game Notes
Minnesota is 15-15, but retains a half-game lead over Utah
in the Northwest Division. The Jazz lost to Memphis on Friday. ...
Nick Van Exel made a 3-pointer for the Spurs, and is eight short of
1,500 for his career. ... Jaric, averaging 10.2 points, has scored
38 points in the last two games. ... San Antonio outscored
Minnesota 54-30 in the paint.