To read the game recap on how the San Antonio Spurs fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, click here. Here are a few areas where the Spurs struggled in their loss to the Wolves, but there were also some bright spots in the loss.
Room for Improvement
- Shot selection: In the third quarter, the Spurs struggled to score the ball and one reason was because of the amount of jump shots the team took while the Timberwolves used the paint. The Wolves were 8/10 from the paint for 16 points in the third. The Spurs were 3/8 from the paint with six points. The Spurs were out scored 50-26 overall in the paint. The Spurs’ final seven shots in the fourth quarter where all jump shots. Granted, on two occasions Richard Jefferson and Tim Duncan were open on the perimeter with the shots they missed. With the Spurs needing a three, Gary Neal hoisted a contested three out of a timeout and the ball clanked the rim, there wasn’t much Neal could do about the shot. The issue was that Tony Parker had seven points in the fourth quarter by attacking the paint early, that’s where he’s most lethal on offense. He began settling for jumpers toward the end of the game.
- Turnovers on the road: The Spurs did a better job of taking care of the ball overall Friday, but the team had three of their 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter, which killed their momentum on offense.
- Tim Duncan and size: Duncan had a good first half as he blocked three shots in the first quarter. Duncan also led the Spurs with 10 rebounds. The problem was Duncan hurt the Spurs on the offensive end. Duncan was 2-of-12 in the game and could never get his outside shot going, which he had been knocking down at a high rate as of late. The missing shot was very evident when the Spurs still had a chance with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and Duncan’s open jumper just barely hit the front of the rim. Duncan is a pro and knows its just one game. He should be able to bounce back against the Mavericks on Sunday. This game also highlighted he fact this team still desperately needs size. When a player like Nikola Pecovic can abuse the Spurs in the middle, it’s time for the team to see what options they can explore to get help in the paint. Kenyon Martin or Chris Kaman?
- Richard Jefferson: Jefferson looked like he was going to be a team leader with 10 points in the first quarter, the problem was he never scored again. He was 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, but his biggest miss was an open three pointer late in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game.
The Bright Spots
- Tiago Splitter: Splitter’s dominance off the bench continues to rise as he scored 12 points off the bench, grabbed seven rebounds, and had two blocks. Splitter has now scored in double digits for six straight games. The best part of Splitter’s game is that he can score in bunches. He had six points in the second quarter alone.
- Matt Bonner: Bonner also had another big game off of the bench for the Spurs as he scored 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Bonner’s biggest issue is consistency.
- Defense: Though they lost, the Spurs’ defense made a major improvement by holding the Timberwolves to less than 23 points in all four consecutive quarters. The Wolves only shot 44% from the field, that’s a marginal difference as the Wolves lit up the Spurs with 58% shooting in their first meeting. No Timberwolves scorer scored more than 18 points either. The Spurs also had a combined eight blocks and five steals as a team.