Ginobili's shot pushes Spurs past TimberwolvesFeb 22, 2008 - 6:13 AM By Peter Kapsner PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - Although the San Antonio Spurs welcomed back Tony Parker on Thursday night, it was Manu Ginobili who carried the load once again.
Ginobili scored 44 points and made the game-winning shot with six seconds to play, lifting the Spurs to a thrilling 100-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tim Duncan added 24 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio, which has won seven of its past eight games.
"He's (Ginobili) been great," Duncan said. "Especially when we've been struggling offensively. You love to have someone like that you can just give the ball too and watch him roll. He plays the right way though. Even though he scores 40, he makes the right plays at the right time."
The game was tight throughout and the Spurs held a two-point lead in the final minute before Al Jefferson's three-point play gave the Timberwolves a 99-98 advantage with 39 seconds to play.
After each team had an empty possession, Ginobili - who scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter - made a step-back jumper from the wing to push San Antonio back in front by one point with six seconds left.
"I always try to get to the rim, but Foye covered my left pretty good and my counter-move is always step back right," Ginobili said. "I just got lucky that I took a good shot and it went in."
Minnesota had one last chance but Sebastian Telfair's 3-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
Parker, who had missed the last nine contests due to a right heel injury, came off the bench with 5:40 to go in the first quarter and finished with eight points and two assists in 19 minutes of action.
"He looked fine. It's a matter of timing and getting some rest," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought for a first outing that he did a good job trying to get some things done, but also getting a feel for the game and not trying to take over."
Ginobili made all eight of his field goals in the second quarter - including six 3-pointers - for 22 points to help the Spurs pull even at 53-53 at the intermission.
Parker's jumper gave San Antonio its biggest lead at 71-61 with 3:29 left in the third before Minnesota rallied take a 77-75 lead early in the fourth quarter.
In total, the game featured 16 ties and 18 lead changes.
"That was a heck of a game, I thought, all the way around," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "San Antonio played well and we did a good job. Our guys fought hard. We had 26 assists and passed well out of the double teams."
Jefferson finished with 25 points to pace Minnesota, which shot 51 percent (41-of-81) from the field.
"Jefferson's a (heck) of a player, that's for sure," Popovich said. "He's hard to guard, his balance and footwork are exceptional. They're different players, but the fundamental sense that he has is just like Timmy's (Duncan)."
SAN ANTONIO 100
MINNESOTA 99 FINAL
Feb 21 10:33 PM
SAN ANTONIO 74
MINNESOTA 72 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 21 9:48 PM
SAN ANTONIO 53
MINNESOTA 53 HALFTIME
Feb 21 9:08 PM
SAN ANTONIO 22
MINNESOTA 21 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 21 8:33 PM
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