Spurs 104, Timberwolves 94

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- In a game in which there were more big-time stars watching than playing, it all came down to who could deal with injuries better.
Advantage, San Antonio. With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili out with injuries Wednesday, Danny Green hit 8 of 12 three-point tries on the way to a career-high 28 points and Tony Parker scored 31 with eight assists in a 104-94 victory over Minnesota at Target Center.
Kawhi Leonard added 19 points for the Spurs, who kicked off their extended nine-game road trip with their 11th straight victory. The Spurs continue their roll with the league's best record (39-11) and best road record (17-9), and they improved to 21-1 against teams with sub-.500 records.
The Timberwolves (18-28) continued to flounder without Kevin Love, losing their second straight and their 13th in 15 games. The Wolves have one more game in a six-game home stand that has started 1-4.
Center Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolves. Derrick Williams had 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Point guard Ricky Rubio, who had 14 assists Monday, had 11 against the Spurs, with nine points.
Down four after three quarters, the Wolves came back to take a 79-77 lead on Mickael Gelabale's fast-break jumper with 7:45 left.
But Green hit three three-pointers in an 11-2 run that gave the Spurs an 88-81 lead with less than four minutes left. The Wolves did not threaten again.
Rubio, who had 10 assists in the fourth quarter Monday against Portland, had five in the first quarter Wednesday as the Wolves took a 23-21 lead.
That two-point lead was still there late in the half, when Parker put the pedal down. He scored seven straight points then set up Leonard for a three-pointer in a 10-0 run that was ended by Pekovic's two free throws. The Spurs led 47-41 heading into the third quarter.
Down seven midway through the third quarter, Williams had five points in a 12-4 run to take a 64-63 lead on Rubio's free throw with 1:50 left. But Parker scored on a drive, then Green hit a three-pointer for a four-point lead entering the fourth.
NOTES: In Minneapolis for the game, NBA commissioner David Stern said he thinks the NBA is on track to start testing players for human growth hormone as early as next season. That is the goal, though Stern said, "It's not a commitment, not a promise. It's an expectation." Stern said the NBA is watching how the NFL and Major League Baseball are gearing up to test for HGH. If those leagues get approval to test players, the NBA will follow suit. "We're well on our way," Stern said. ... Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko missed Wednesday's game with a quadriceps strain sustained Monday. "It's kind of new to me -- never had the quad, but I guess probably four, five days," said Kirilenko, who was awarded the EuroPlayer of the Year award before the game. Mickael Gelabale replaced Kirilenko in the starting lineup. ... The Spurs' and Wolves' rosters have a total of 15 players who were born outside the United States.

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