Spurs Showcase “Scrooge Like” Demeanor In Shutting Down T-Wolves

By Gregory Moore
Updated: December 24, 2004

Go to fullsize image

SAN ANTONIO – “Twas the day before Christmas Eve and the Timberwolves were on the prowl…” That is essentially where this fairytale ends as the San Antonio Spurs used a tenacious defensive effort in the second half to not only shut down the Minnesota Timberwolves but to climb back into a game that had them down by as many as twelve points at the half. The Spurs used a series of runs but a whole lot of effort to defeat a surging Minnesota team 96-82 on the night before Christmas Eve.

“Our focus, our energy was key,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “We just cut down on the mistakes and the intangibles; things you don’t see on the stat sheets.” The Spurs outscored the Timberwolves 53-31 in the second half. In the fourth quarter, they outscored their opponents 31-17; an impressive effort for a team that has the top stats in opponents’ points and field goal percentage.

“It was a team effort,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “ The second half was great. They [the Spurs] dug down deep and took control of the game.” The win came after the Spurs lost to the Orlando Magic the night before; an effort that didn’t sit well with many the night afterwards.

“The last couple of games we’ve started out slow,” Tony Parker said. “We just had to be more an ‘attack mode’ and not just stand there and watch Timmy.” “When you are used to winning, little things slide by,” Bruce Bowen said. “We’ve been playing like junk a few games and old habits start to creep in. When you lose, those habits are magnified greatly. We just needed to get back to what we do best and cut down on those habits.” Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with a 22-point effort while Duncan and Parker each had 19 points in the win. Robert Horry came off the bench to provide eight points at crucial times in the game.

For the Timberwolves, they were led by Wally Szcerbiak (22 points) and Kevin Garnett (15 points). Troy Hudson came of the bench and gave the Timberwolves 14 points 22 minutes of play.

The Spurs will take on the Boston Celtics on Sunday and then face a hot Phoenix Suns team on Tuesday night.