NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Minnesota
(Thursday, February 21st)
Final Score: San Antonio 100, Minnesota 99
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Manu Ginobili poured in 16 of his 44 points in the final frame and drilled a jumper with six seconds on the clock to lift the San Antonio Spurs over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 100-99, at the Target Center.
With the Timberwolves trailing by four with just over a minute to go, Al Jefferson unleashed back-to-back baskets, the second of which was an underhanded scoop shot that he hit while drawing a foul from Tim Duncan. Jefferson connected on the ensuing free throw, nudging Minnesota ahead 99-98 with 39 seconds remaining.
Although Ginobili committed a turnover on San Antonio's following possession, the Spurs caught a break when they opted not to foul and Randy Foye's driving layup was off-target. Duncan cleaned up the glass, and San Antonio immediately took a full timeout with the game clock showing 10 seconds.
When play resumed, Ginobili worked against Foye, driving to the left of the circle and then shaking off the young guard with a fierce behind-the-back dribble that helped Ginobili slide back to the middle of the paint. Ginobili, standing alone at the charity stripe, pulled up and buried a jumper, and the Spurs earned the edge, 100-99, with six seconds to play.
Sebastian Telfair had an open look at a three-pointer from the left wing with just two seconds left, but could not get the shot to fall.
"It wasn't such a nice win, but we'll take it," Ginobili said. "We didn't play that good. Minnesota did a great job. I think we just have to say that we got lucky, making that last shot and Telfair missing his."
Ginobili converted 13-of-18 attempts from the field, including 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, and knocked down 11-of-12 from the foul line, guiding the Spurs to their fourth straight victory and eighth in their last nine outings. Duncan tallied 24 points while reeling in 14 rebounds, dishing out seven assists and swatting four shots, and Michael Finley came off the bench to score 13 in the winning effort.
Tony Parker, who missed San Antonio's last nine contests with chronic left ankle inflammation, returned to action as a reserve and provided eight points in 18 minutes.
Parker's return may have been slightly overshadowed by the Spurs' recent activity on the trade market.
This was San Antonio's first affair since acquiring forward/center Kurt Thomas from Seattle on the eve of Thursday's NBA trade deadline. In exchange for Thomas, the Spurs sent Francisco Elson, Brent Barry and a 2009 first-round draft pick to the Sonics.
Thomas averages 7.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game, while shooting .513 (139-271) from the field. The 35-year-old, standing at 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, is expected to add frontcourt depth to a Spurs squad that looks to defend its championship against a stacked Western Conference.
Not to be outdone, the Timberwolves also made a move prior to the trade deadline, receiving guard Kirk Snyder, a second-round draft pick in 2010, and cash from Houston for Gerald Green.
Snyder, a four-year veteran, has played in just nine contests this season, netting 3.8 points per game.
San Antonio has defeated Minnesota in four consecutive meetings and nine of the last 10 encounters, including three in a row visiting the Target Center.
Jefferson paced the Timberwolves with 28 points, 12 of which came in the fourth frame, while shooting 11-of-19 from the field overall. It was not enough, though, for Minnesota to avoid dropping its sixth game of the last seven played. Telfair and Rashad McCants finished with 15 points apiece, and Foye contributed 13 points while handing out seven helpers.
Demonstrating how evenly matched the squads were on Thursday, the Spurs led 22-21 after the first frame, and things were deadlocked at 53-53 when the clubs headed to the locker rooms at the intermission.
The teams were separated by a bucket when the buzzer sounded at the end of the third period, with San Antonio on top, 74-72.
Minnesota's Theo Ratliff logged 14 minutes and scored eight points in just his seventh game of the season. He last played on Nov. 16 against Washington, when he suffered a right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery...This was the third of four matchups between the squads this season. The Spurs have won all three meetings, and are scheduled to host the Timberwolves on March 28 at the AT&T Center...San Antonio improved to 36-17 overall, while Minnesota slipped to 11-42...The Spurs climbed to 15-12 as the visitor this season...This was the T'Wolves third of a five-game homestand, during which they are 1-2. Dallas and Utah are next to come to the Target Center, where Minny is 9-19...The Timberwolves fell to 2-38 in games that they are held to under 100 points.
02/22 01:30:28 ET