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Game #22: Those Damn Spurs Are In Town

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If it feels like the Wolves never beat the Spurs, well...

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

The San Antonio Spurs are in Minneapolis tonight looking to keep the Wolves from moving to .500 on the season. A win would push them to 11-11, and the Spurs to 10-11. We shall throw a party in the comments section if it actually happens. That would be a brilliant way to start this tough 4-game home stand that should help reveal exactly where the Wolves stack up in the rugged, unrelenting Western Conference.

The Spurs coming off a one point victory in Chicago against the Bulls. It’s been a tough go for the Spurs, whose talent is not where we’re used to seeing it. The injury to Dejounte Murray also sapped much of their athleticism on the perimeter, and they have had a hard time stopping teams from getting the shots they want. Opponents are shooting 54 percent on two point shots against them, and they also don’t force a lot of turnovers, meaning teams are getting good opportunities on most possessions against them.

Of course, beating the Spurs has proven to be a tall order throughout franchise history (29-87). More recently, the Wolves have continued to get beat up by their older more wise Spurs brothers. They’ve lost 10 straight road games to them, including the season opener (108-112). DeMar DeRozan dropped 28-points to start his Spurs career on the right foot.

You might remember the tie-breaking bucket he hit with 32.4 seconds remaining to lift his new club. LaMarcus Aldridge feasted with 21 points and 19 rebounds, totally crushing Towns and Taj on the glass. Nobody put a body on him all night. That can’t happen again. By the way, remember the early season rebounding problem? If you tried erasing that from your memory, that’s fine. I don’t blame you for trying to improve your life.

Jeff Teague led the Wolves with 27 points in the first match up, while Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins added 23 and 20, respectively. General Soreness is gone, in case that news hadn’t hit your AOL account yet. The Wolves are finally playing like a TEAM. It turns out that chemistry matters in sports and business and relationships.

Shockingly enough, the Wolves happened to win the last time the Gregg Popovich’s were at Target Center. But that opening loss was also Minnesota’s 50th L in San Antonio, its most vs. any opponent. The Spurs have won 14 of the past 15 meetings overall.

So, yeah, what I’m trying to tell you is that a win tonight would be rare and certainly cause for immense celebration. I would at least hope for way over the top bragging until the next game against the Celtics on Saturday. We have to milk the highs in Wolvesdom, you know!

This is the second of four contests between these squads this season. The other games will take place on Friday, Dec. 21 (at San Antonio) and Friday, Jan. 18 (at Minnesota).

Please win. Please win. Please win.

Expected Lineups

Spurs

Bryn Forbes
DeMar DeRozan
Rudy Gay
Dante Cunningham
LaMarcus Aldridge

Wolves

Jeff Teague
Andrew Wiggins
Robert Covington
Taj Gibson
Karl-Anthony Towns

QUICK NOTES

  • Wolves are 8-3 at home and favored at -4.5
  • OVER/UNDER = 215.5
  • ESPN’s Matchup Predictor has the Wolves at 56.9% win probability
  • Pau Gasol (foot) won’t play, Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio reports
  • Spurs are 4-7 on the road and 4-6 in their last 10 games
  • Prediction: Wolves win, 110-105

What are you watching for tonight? (Not Josh Okogie or Anthony Tolliver ... amirite.)

I want to see if this tremendous defensive turnaround can continue. Other questions I’m interested in finding the answers to: How many stocks will RoCo have? Will Wiggins show up or sleepwalk through the game? Can they contain Aldridge? Is Towns going to be able to deal with everything the Spurs throw at him, or will this be one those frustrated Karlito is in his own head type of night? Can the bench continue to produce? Will Rose’s scorching hot start last another night?

This could also be a good night for Dario Saric to see a lot of minutes, since the Spurs really don’t play any full sized power forwards, especially in the absence of Pau Gasol, who is out tonight. But the starting match up of Dante Cunningham and Taj Gibson should be a fun battle between two (bald) old-heads who scrap and hustle.

Our blogging buddies are over at Pounding the Rock. Be excellent.

Stay tuned...

All Hail Lord Covington