Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/15

Game 1: Thursday, December 15th
Game 2: Friday, January 6th
Game 3: Saturday, January 28th
Game 4: Sunday, April 16th

Spurs 103

(61-19, 28-12 away)

Timberwolves 90

(33-48, 24-16 home)

    Coverage: KRRT

    5:00 PM ET, April 16, 2006

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 26 30 21 26103
    MIN 21 14 24 3190

    Top Performers

    SA: M. Ginobili 14 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Min: M. Banks 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl

    Spurs get 57 points from bench, beat T-Wolves

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs want a few more quality wins down the stretch to find their rhythm for the playoffs and the next step in their title defense.

    This was a decent start, even against the depleted Minnesota Timberwolves.

    San Antonio moved closer to clinching first place in the Western Conference, beating Minnesota 103-90 on Sunday behind 57 bench points.

    "We need to get some of that funk out," said Tim Duncan, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes. "We've had some bad games and some losses at home."

    The Spurs (61-19), who host Utah on Monday, need one more win or one more Dallas loss to seal the Southwest Division title and secure home-court advantage until the NBA Finals with the West's top seed. The Mavericks (60-21) beat the Jazz 111-95 later Sunday night.

    "You have letdowns sometimes and you lose games like this, but we came in here and I thought we took care of business the right way," Duncan said.

    Tony Parker had 11 points in 17 minutes for San Antonio, which met little resistance from the Timberwolves -- who have shut down Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis for the season with minor injuries. The real purpose, though, is to let first-year coach Dwane Casey and the front office further evaluate a handful of young players with postseason qualification no longer a worry.

    One of those under heavy scrutiny has been point guard Marcus Banks, acquired three months ago in the big trade with Boston that brought Davis to Minnesota and sent Wally Szczerbiak to the Celtics.

    Though he and Rashad McCants showed their share of defensive lapses, Banks scored 25 points on 10-for-11 shooting from the foul line. McCants had 20 points, and rookie Bracey Wright added 13 points.

    "It's a great learning experience for all these guys," Casey said.

    With NBA rebounding leader Garnett gone, the Spurs owned a 46-29 edge on the boards, a 20-6 advantage in second-chance points and did whatever they wanted to on offense. Reserves like Beno Udrih (15 points in 22 minutes), Brent Barry (14 points in 22 minutes) and Fabricio Oberto were given extended time in the second half.

    "I thought we came out with too much respect at the beginning of the game," Casey said, "and we were on our heels instead of coming out attacking."

    San Antonio, which finishes the regular season at Houston on Wednesday, can break the franchise record for victories by winning the last two games. The 1994-95 team went 62-20.

    The Wolves (33-48), meanwhile, are on the way to their worst finish since they went 26-56 in 1995-96, Garnett's rookie year. They play once more, against Memphis on Wednesday.

    Announced attendance was 15,237 for this sleepy game that looked more like a preseason scrimmage in terms of intensity and sounded like one, too, in terms of crowd noise.

    "That's how I felt out there -- like we were alone in the woods," Banks said, smiling.

    Duncan opened the second half with a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 59-35, and they built a lead as big as 31 points before Banks and McCants brought Minnesota back against San Antonio's second string.

    McCants capped a 22-9 Timberwolves run with a 3-pointer that closed the third quarter.

    These teams were once real rivals, a competition highlighted by the Duncan-Garnett matchup that bloomed in a first-round playoff series in 2001. These days, with Minnesota on its way to the lottery for a second straight year, there's little buzz.

    Especially without Garnett.

    "He and Timmy always have some great battles. ... To not see him on the court is very strange, knowing what a competitor he is," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

    Game notes

    The last time the Spurs swept a season series from the Timberwolves was 1994-95. Manu Ginobili returned from a three-game absence (bruised calf and shin) to score 14 points in 24 minutes for San Antonio. ... Minnesota has reduced season-ticket prices on more than 12,200 seats for next season. Nearly 5,000 seats will cost more. ... Fred Hoiberg, who sat out this season after heart surgery, has called a Monday news conference to discuss his basketball future. After playing the last two years with the Wolves, Hoiberg was a special assistant for the team this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 90
    FGM-FGA 40-78 (.513) 33-76 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 9-25 (.360) 4-12 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 14-21 (.667) 20-21 (.952)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-46 5-29
    Assists 25 16
    Turnovers 17 10
    Steals 3 7
    Blocks 7 1
    Fast Break Points 16 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 31 2

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Manu Ginobili Ginobili
    Points: 14
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Marcus Banks Banks
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0