for this game

Parker helps Spurs hold off Timberwolves

Dec 24, 2008 - 6:06 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- It wasn't nearly as dramatic as the first time the two teams met this season, but it did get interesting late as the San Antonio Spurs knocked off the Minnesota Timberwolves, 99-93, Tuesday night.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 36 points and eight assists.

It appeared that Parker and Tim Duncan were going to be able to watch the fourth quarter from the bench for the second straight night, but Minnesota, as they did all game, hung around.

The Timberwolves rallied back from a 16-point deficit, and a Randy Foye 3-pointer with 9:34 left in the game cut the lead to 85-77, forcing Parker and Duncan back on the floor.

With the Spurs nursing an 85-80 lead, both teams exchanged baskets, while Parker and Duncan scored the team's final 14 points.

But an Al Jefferson jumphook cut the Spurs' lead to 91-88 with 2:46 to play. Duncan, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, then countered with a short shot of his own, before Parker nailed an improbable 21-foot fallaway jumper for a 95-89 lead.

"The shot was going in tonight," Parker said. "That makes all the difference."

Jefferson led Minnesota with 28 points, while Foye had 26 points and 16 rebounds.

"Foye was in there amongst the trees and playing with energy," Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale said.

When the two teams met on November 5, it took two overtimes for the Spurs to eke out a 129-125 victory. Parker scored 51 in that game.

"Tony Parker. Holy cow," McHale said. "He sees us coming."

"I thought Tony got us through tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He looked like the last time we played against them in Minnesota. He made shots, he went to the hole. He played great defense. Tony was magnificent tonight."

Fortunately for the Spurs, who were finishing up a back-to-back, no extra time was needed.

"Give them credit, though," Parker said. "They played hard and physical. They make it hard on us."

The Spurs have won nine of their last 11, while the Timberwolves extended their losing skid to 13.

San Antonio jumped out early, and a Roger Mason 3-pointer early in the first quarter gave the Spurs a 16-6 edge. Minnesota never led.

Despite a 9-2 Minnesota run to close the second quarter, the Spurs led 48-40 at halftime.

The Timberwolves put together a 16-2 run that spanned the first and second half. Early in the third, Craig Smith converted a 3-point play, and Foye's fastbreak layup cut the Spurs' lead to just one point, 48-47.

But Mason answered with another 3-pointer for some cushion.

Afterwards Parker joked that he'd have to cut Mason a check for all the assists he's been credited from Mason's shooting. But Mason was quick to point out Parker's penetration.

"Tony's penetration has yielded this team three championships, so we'll let that develop," he said. "But if he needs me, I'm here."

A Manu Ginobili steal led to an emphatic George Hill fastbreak dunk with 1:43 left in third that gave Spurs a 79-65 lead. Ginobili then put an exclamation point on the third quarter with a 3-pointer, pushing the lead to 83-67. But Minnesota had one last push in them. It just wasn't enough.