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Wolves defend turf, get first win in six tries vs. Spurs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- This time the Timberwolves held on.

Mark Blount scored 28 points, Kevin Garnett had 27 points and 17
rebounds, and Minnesota beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-101 in
overtime Wednesday night.

To earn its first win in six games against the Spurs, Minnesota
made six straight free throws and Trenton Hassell grabbed a key
rebound late in overtime.

"We showed a lot of resiliency in the fact that we lost the
lead but the guys didn't fold up the tent," coach Dwane Casey
said.

That was not the case Dec. 13 when Minnesota led San Antonio by
16 late in first half before being held to 26 points after
intermission in a 95-82 loss.

Garnett said the Timberwolves are a more confident group now,
especially after beating an upper echelon team. Minnesota also was
coming off a 102-96 victory in Charlotte during which it trailed by
20 in the first half and 12 in the fourth quarter.

"I don't think the big question here is 'Can we do it?' It's
how often and how consistent can we be," Garnett said. "It's
something we have to face every night, and we have to be able to
answer that question wholeheartedly every night to be that."

After Randy Foye and Blount each made two shots from the
free-throw line, Garnett made two with 1:03 left in the extra
period for a 103-98 lead, but Tony Parker made three of four for
the Spurs.

Minnesota finished 28-for-29 from the line; San Antonio
21-for-25.

Ricky Davis missed a long jumper with just under 10 seconds to
play, but Hassell grabbed his eighth rebound of the game and
Minnesota was able to dribble out the clock.

"We gave ourselves a chance, made some great plays, but
obviously, they made a couple more," said Tim Duncan, who had 24
points and 13 rebounds. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with a
season-high 26 points.

Parker had 19 points, but struggled to drive the lane as he
likes to do because of Hassell's defensive presence.

"The hardest job in basketball has got to be trying to guard
Tony Parker. He's the fastest guy in the world with the basketball.
Trenton Hassell did a great job of guarding him," Casey said.
"One of our goals tonight was to keep him out of the paint, and we
did that."

Duncan and Ginobili said the Spurs, who lost 82-78 Tuesday at
Cleveland, picked up the defensive intensity on the fourth quarter
to get back in the game.

"Sometimes when you do that late you consume too much energy
and the team gets too confident, so that was our mistake,"
Ginobili said.

Trailing by one after Duncan scored on a drive against Garnett
and Blount, Garnett drove against Duncan and laid the ball in with
34 seconds to play for his 18,000th career point. A subsequent free
throw made it 93-91.

But Ginobili drove past Blount to tie it at 93.

Foye missed a shot with 22 seconds left in regulation for
Minnesota and Matt Bonner missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the
Spurs, who trailed by 17 points early in the third quarter.

"That's a shot I normally make. It was tough to miss that,"
Bonner said.

Minnesota led by 13 early in the second, before the Spurs went
on a 9-0 run capped by Parker's drive. Blount and Garnett countered
by each scoring four points in an 8-0 run for a 47-35 lead. Garnett
had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the opening half.

Minnesota increased its lead to 16 late in the quarter, but a
3-pointer by Bonner with 0.6 seconds left in the half made it
55-42.

Game notes
Wolves guard Marko Jaric was out for the second straight
game because of a jammed thumb. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said
his team's health is fine after Duncan and at least five of his
teammates were affected by the flu bug recently. Popovich said he
didn't get a flu shot. "I didn't get sick, for whatever that's
worth. I'm too mean to get sick," he quipped. ... Michael Finley
eclipsed 15,000 career points when he made a 3-pointer in the third
quarter. ... The game was the first of four straight at home for
Minnesota.