Spurs charge back, sink TimberwolvesDec 1, 2007 - 4:33 AM By Jim Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs continued their winning ways, rallying to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-91, on Friday night.
Ginobili scored a season-high 31 points as San Antonio erased a 14-point third-quarter deficit by closing the game on a 40-11 run. Tim Duncan added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs.
Despite the fact that Minnesota has fewer victories (2-12) than San Antonio has losses (14-3), the Timberwolves made this a game, leading until the 9:05 mark in the fourth quarter, when a free throw by Tim Duncan gave the Spurs an 83-82 lead.
In a game marked by physical play and three technical fouls, San Antonio's experience and Ginobili were the difference.
"Ginobili is an amazing competitor," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "One of the most unbelievable competitors I've even been around."
The Timberwolves came out of halftime and went on a 21-10 run to go ahead, 80-66, with under two minutes to play in the third quarter.
"We let Minnesota get too confident," Ginobili said. "They were making really tough shots. We should have done much better, especially in the first three quarters."
The Spurs stormed back with a 14-0 run - capped by 3-pointers from Bruce Bowen and Brent Barry - bridging the third and fourth quarters to tie the game at 80-80 with 10:45 to play in the game.
"We did turn it on tonight," Ginobili said. "It's usually not that easy to do. But we really improved our defense, made them make some mistakes, and offensively, we just started making tons of shots."
Antoine Walker gave the Timberwolves their last lead at 86-85, but Bowen and Barry hit 3-pointers in a 12-1 run to put the Spurs in command, 97-87, with 4:20 left to play.
Ginobili provided the final daggers with two more shots from the are in the final 3:05.
"They shot the lights out," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "They make you pay when you make a decision to take the ball out of Duncan's hands."
The finish was typical for Minnesota, which has relinquished four late second-half leads. While the Timberwolves are shooting 50 percent in the first quarter, they make less than 36 percent of their shots in the fourth quarter.
"Once we got the game tied, we knew we were going to be OK," Ginobili said. "But when we were down 14, I really didn't think we were going to win, because it's not that easy to turn it on."
Al Jefferson helped Minnesota get off to a strong start in the first quarter, scoring 10 of his team-high 23 points and grabbing five of his 11 rebounds to spark the Timberwolves to an early 16-8 lead.
Ginobili responded with 15 first-half points to pull the Spurs into a 48-48 tie at the break.
"When you're a young team, it takes a while to build up your confidence," Popovich said. "To learn how to work together. That takes time. We're older than dirt, so that's not a problem that we have. We need a fountain of youth or something."
SAN ANTONIO 106
MINNESOTA 91 FINAL
Nov 30 10:20 PM
SAN ANTONIO 74
MINNESOTA 80 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 30 9:48 PM
SAN ANTONIO 48
MINNESOTA 48 HALFTIME
Nov 30 9:05 PM
SAN ANTONIO 22
MINNESOTA 24 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 30 8:35 PM
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