MINNEAPOLIS — Four months after they were scheduled to play each other in Mexico City but never did, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs finally met Tuesday night.
If you thought that December night was surreal and just plain strange, consider this: A Timberwolves team missing two starters and two others beat a Spurs team 110-91 at the Target Center that had won 20 of its last 21 games.
The Timberwolves did so on a night when they received a 23-point, seven-assist performance from point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love’s 19-point, 12-rebound double-double that allowed them to lead the Spurs by as many as 28 points in the third quarter.
Timberwolves rookie center Gorgui Dieng also had a 12-point, 15-rebound night, his sixth double-double in his last 13 games.
Starting center Boris Diaw led the Spurs with 13 points.
A December game between the teams was postponed when smoke from a generator fire filled the arena 90 minutes before the scheduled tipoff, causing both teams and fans to wait outside in the night for nearly two hours until the game officially was called.
“What a nightmare that was,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. “If not but for that, we’re not here tonight. ... The people down there were so excited, they were so disappointed. But there was no way we could play it. The NBA waited as long as they possibly could to figure out a way to get it done, but it was just too bad, too dangerous.”
So the NBA rescheduled the game for a Tuesday night in April, with a makeup date that requires the Timberwolves to play back-to-back home games against the Spurs on Tuesday and against Chicago on Wednesday night.
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman never was in favor of playing what would have counted as one of his team’s home games thousands of miles away in a foreign country.
On Tuesday, he got the home game he desired and the Timberwolves used the advantage to build leads of 25-13 in the first quarter, 54-34 at halftime and 65-37 in the third quarter against a Spurs team that was playing without injured All-Star Tony Parker and then lost sixth man Manu Ginobili to a quad contusionin the third quarter.
Until Tuesday, the Spurs had lost only one game since Feb. 10. Included was a franchise-record 19-game winning streak that ended Thursday at Oklahoma City.
The Timberwolves were missing starters Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin as well as reserves Chade Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad. On Tuesday, the team signed Development League forward Othyus Jeffers just so it would have another healthy body after playing with just nine available players on Saturday in Orlando.
Notes: Spurs All-Star guard Tony Parker missed Tuesday’s game because of a sprained back injured during Sunday’s victory over Memphis. ... The Timberwolves played without starters Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin and reserves Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad. Budinger (sprained ankle) and Muhammad (MCL knee sprain) are done for the season and Pekovic (sore foot0) very well could be.
San Antonio 91
San Antonio 19 15 29 28 — 91
Minnesota 27 27 31 25 — 110
SAN ANTONIO (91)
K.Leonard 5-10 1-1 11, Da.Green 1-6 3-4 5, Diaw 6-13 0-0 13, Joseph 4-5 5-8 13, Duncan 4-11 2-4 10, Belinelli 1-4 1-2 3, Mills 3-7 0-0 8, Ayres 3-4 1-2 7, Bonner 5-8 0-0 11, Ginobili 3-7 1-2 7, Splitter 0-2 1-2 1, Daye 1-3 0-0 2, D.James 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 36-81 15-25 91.
Hummel 4-10 0-0 9, Rubio 10-17 3-4 23, Love 5-15 7-7 19, C.Brewer 5-8 3-3 14, Dieng 4-15 4-5 12, Barea 3-9 1-1 7, Turiaf 4-5 2-4 10, Mbah a Moute 5-7 0-0 11, D.Cunningham 2-4 1-2 5, Shved 0-1 0-0 0, Jeffers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 42-91 21-26 110.
3-Point Goals: San Antonio 4-17 (Mills 2-3, Diaw 1-2, Bonner 1-3, Ginobili 0-1, Daye 0-2, K.Leonard 0-2, Da.Green 0-4), Minnesota 5-15 (Love 2-6, C.Brewer 1-1, Mbah a Moute 1-1, Hummel 1-4, Rubio 0-1, Barea 0-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: San Antonio 46 (K.Leonard, Duncan 6), Minnesota 63 (Dieng 15). Assists: San Antonio 19 (Diaw 5), Minnesota 23 (Rubio 7). Total Fouls: San Antonio 22 (Diaw, Da.Green 4), Minnesota 18 (Barea 4). A—10,117.