MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—This time the Timberwolves held on.
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.”
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.
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.