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Wolves 117, Spurs 110: Minnesota Wins Fifth Straight, Starts In-Season Tournament 1-0

It wasn’t pretty, but the Anthony Edwards and Timberwolves took down Victor Wembanyama’s Spurs en route to their first In-Season Tournament Victory

In-Season Tournament - Minnesota Timberwolves v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to capture a needed victory in their first In-Season Tournament game of the season with a 117-110 effort over the San Antonio Spurs.

Although it was not the cleanest win from the Wolves this season, they deserved to have a night that didn’t go perfectly as planned after handling their business against the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, and New Orleans Pelicans over the past week and a half. It is unique for Wolves fans to be able to say their team won on a night where they did not particularly play well, but the depth and talent of this team should lead to a number of those type of nights this season.

The Spurs came out of the gates hot in the first quarter and they looked like a team keen on handing the Wolves one of their signature let-down games. The Spurs, led by Devin Vassell’s hot shooting and Victor Wembanyama’s size, were able to push their lead to 34-24 with 10:40 left in the second quarter. From that point, the Wolves inched closer possession by possession until back-to-back Anthony Edwards triples led them to their first lead with 2:23 left in the first half. The Wolves had yet to string together more than a few good possessions in a row, but they had the lead and never looked back from that point on.

The third quarter was by far their best frame of the game. Led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ double digit effort in the quarter, the Wolves outscored the Spurs by 15 points and pushed their lead to 90-73 heading into the fourth.

When the final 12:00 rolled around, the Wolves fell into their old ways and allowed the Spurs to gain some life and feel like they may have a chance to get back into the game. San Antonio slowly clawed their way back in the second half of the quarter and got as close as 5 points before they resorted to fouling down the stretch.

Our First View of Victor

Tonight’s game was the first time we laid eyes on Wembanyama against the Timberwolves. Going into the night, the biggest question in my head revolved around how the Wolves planned to match up with the 7-foot-5 Frenchman. Early on, the Wolves used KAT’s mobility to try to combat Wembanyama’s versatility. He found some success shooting over the top of Towns, but did not dominate. We also saw a good amount of Rudy Gobert guarding him when Towns was not on the floor, which I’m sure was a special moment for both Gobert and Wembanyama. The two swapped jerseys after their first NBA matchup.

Wembanyama ended the night with an impressive stat line of 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four blocks in 35 minutes of action.

Towns Finds a Groove

Though Karl-Anthony Towns has been an impactful player this season so far, especially defensively, we saw him continue his offensive breakout that he started against New Orleans on Wednesday. After a tough offensive showing in the win versus Boston on Monday, Towns scored 23 points against the Pelicans and followed it up with 29 points and 12 rebounds in this one. He shot 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, bringing his 3-point percentage to 34% on the season. He’s beginning to come around on offense, which will make this team incredibly dangerous as the season goes on.

Towns also ended the night with only one personal foul, while drawing a handful of fouls by the Spurs.

Edwards to Gobert Connection Continues

Anthony Edwards famously only assisted 27 Gobert made shots in their first year together. Now, with a season of experience, Edwards is beginning to hit Gobert on the roll more effectively. Coming into tonight, Edwards has assisted Gobert six times through seven games. He connected on a couple more tonight, upping his average to one per game.

It may not seem like much to those on the outside, but fans of the Wolves know just how big it is. He is on pace for over 80 assists to Gobert this season, far more than he had last year.

Next Up

The Timberwolves will head to the Bay Area for two matchups against the Golden State Warriors, the first of which being on Sunday night at 7:30 PM CT. Golden State will be on the back end of a back-to-back after playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. Fans can watch the game on Bally Sports North.

It will be interesting to see how the Warriors match up with the Wolves size, but also how the Wolves combat the speed of the Warriors. The second of the two matchups will be another In-Season Tournament game.

Game Highlights