Timberwolves Wrap: Free throw woes bring loss to Spurs


The Timberwolves led the San Antonio Spurs at halftime but scuffled down the stretch in a 101-95 loss.

The Wolves started the game on a 10-0 run behind three assists and two points from Ricky Rubio. From that point on, the Spurs outscored the visitors by a 26-17 margin in the opening frame.

The Timberwolves did carry a two-point lead into halftime, and the Spurs lost their head coach late in the second quarter after Gregg Popovich was ejected following an on-court tirade. It was a sloppy half all around from the home team, which had been exceedingly rare in their 17-0 start to the season at home. In fact, the only team that the Spurs had trailed to at halftime at home to this point had been the Brooklyn Nets.

The Spurs outscored the Wolves by a score of 26-20 in the third quarter, and the minutes played by Minnesota bench late in the frame and into the early minutes of the fourth quarter were disasterous. Tyus Jones wasn’t great at point guard, but big men Adreian Payne and Gorgui Dieng had extremely rough showings.

Dieng had yet another high turnover game with five miscues while shooting just 3 of 9 from the field. Payne was routinely out of position on defense and was completely outplayed by the Spurs’ Boris Diaw and Boban Marjanovic, who shot a combined 9 of 9 from the floor.

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For the Wolves, Ricky Rubio again shot just 2 of 9 from the field but dished out 14 assists and grabbed four steals. Karl-Anthony Towns only attempted seven shots and ended up tallying 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

The biggest issue for the Timberwolves was the uncharacteristically miserable free throw shooting. The Wolves came into the game second in the NBA in free throw percentage (81 percent) while attempting the third-most free-bees in the league. On Monday night they shot just 14 of 24 from the line, including a putrid 2 of 8 performance from Andrew Wiggins.

It was a respectable loss by the young Wolves but disappointing all the same as they led for a good portion of the contest and could not take advantage of a poor all-around performance from the normally impeccable Spurs.

Tweet of the Night

Star of the Night

Ricky Rubio — 7 points (2-9 FG, 0-2 3P, 3-4 FT), 14 assists, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, one turnover

Rubio was great once again, although the poor shooting line was a departure from his past couple of outings. He was outstanding in the pick-and-roll game, picking the Spurs apart early with dimes to Towns, Kevin Garnett, and Tayshaun Prince. Rubio was also solid defensively on Tony Parker, who also shot just 2 of 9 from the field.

Other Notable Timberwolves Lines

Karl-Anthony Towns – 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-3 FT), 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one turnover

Andrew Wiggins – 18 points (8-18 FG, 0-1 3P, 2-8 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 steals, one assist, 3 turnovers

Zach LaVine – 15 points (5-14 FG, 0-4 3P, 5-5 FT), 2 assists, one turnover

Who’s Next

The Timberwolves will play host to the 13-16 Utah Jazz — a young, up-and-coming team that is a couple of steps ahead of the up-and-down Wolves.

Next: Top 30 Wolves Scorers

The Wolves have now lost four straight games and nine of the past 11 contests overall. After Wednesday’s game they’ll head to Detroit to play the Pistons on the second night of a back-to-back before hosting Milwaukee and playing at the one-win 76ers.

The schedule eases up just a bit in due time, but the Wolves need to remain competitive in the coming days.