A monstrous game from Kevin Love wasn’t enough, as the Minnesota Timberwolves fell once again below .500, losing to the San Antonio Spurs 117-110, with the NBA finalists bringing their usual blend of offense that doesn’t only rely on just one guy, even though it was mostly Tony Parker who pulled them away for the win.
Kevin Love was the individual story of the game: 42 points, 14 rebounds, while hitting 8 three pointers, tying the franchise record for 3-point field goals. It’s also the first time an NBA player has gone 42-14 while hitting so much from beyond the arc, as it’s not normal for someone to be this good on the boards and also from beyond the arc.
But as good as the Timberwolves are on offense, especially when Ricky Rubio is playing well (15 points, 8 assists, 4 steals), they don’t have the depth or the defensive mentality to stop the Spurs when they’re clicking. The bench unit for the Spurs and especially Manu Ginobili (20 points, 9 assists) were those who made most of the difference for San Antonio, also getting 12 points from Marco Belinelli and 12 more from Boris Diaw. The Timberwolves got only 12 points from their five bench players, resulting in too much of a gap for their starting five to make up, especially in the closing minutes, as the Spurs outscored Minnesota 37-21 in the fourth quarter.
Our experience has got to show up somewhere at some point. We know what’s going on out there, especially when it gets down to crunch time and things really count. We’ve made plays long enough that we know where each other is going to be.
Tony Parker finished with 29 points, while Ginobili had 16 of his 20 in the final quarter. Parker had 12 in the final quarter, shooting 5-of-7 from the field, and scoring some big baskets in the final moments, including one off a Tim Duncan assist, pushing off of Rubio to get separation and build a 7-point lead the Timberwolved could no longer catch up with.
The Timberwolves can’t be feeling good about another loss in which Love was great and the rest not so much. Kevin Martin was only 4-of-12 from the field in a frustrating, selfish performance from the shooting guard. Corey Brewer is becoming too one dimensional in his shooting, getting almost all of his points from dunks while struggling from anywhere else on the court. Their defense remains lazy, atrocious at times. No wonder both Love and Rubio talked about Parker and the Spurs with envy and frustration in their tone after the game.
We know what they’re capable of and when you get them into a two- or three-minute game, they’re incredible. They’ve played together for a very long time, but they just made plays and we missed shots that we usually make.
On Parker – That’s why he is one of the best in the league, and that’s why he almost won. by himself last year with the Spurs. Right now, he’s one of the top two or top three point guards in the league.