Spurs rally to defeat Timberwolves

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SAN ANTONIO -- When the San Antonio Spurs needed a rally, they turned to their veteran players. And once again, they came through with the win.

Point guard Tony Parker had 29 points and six assists to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 117-110 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Parker was 13 of 24 from the field in 36 minutes as the Spurs returned from their two-game road trip.

"We didn't play a great three quarters, maybe even three and a half if you want to say that," forward Tim Duncan stated. "Our guy stuck with it. Manu hit some shots and made big plays. Kawhi was great as well. Obviously, Tony has been carrying us all year. He was also great."

San Antonio had five other players in double figures with forward Kawhi Leonard getting 19, while guards Manu Ginobili had 20 and Marco Belinelli 12. Forward Boris Diaw had 12 and Duncan chipped in 12 with 14 rebounds for San Antonio (18-4).

Down by one with less than three minutes to go, the Spurs' Big Three came up big down the stretch. Duncan's layup started a 10-2 run that ended with a pair of free throws from Ginobili.

Parker had four points squeezed in between, but Ginobili, who had 16 fourth-quarter points along with nine assists sealed the win.

"Manu is playing great," Parker said of his backcourt teammate. "He's got his legs. He looks like he's fresh and he's making his shots. In the fourth quarter, he was very aggressive. That was big for us."

Their defense came up strong and held the Timberwolves to two points from the 2:45 mark to the end of the game.

The loss wasted a masterful performance from Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who had 42 points and 14 rebounds.

The 6-foot-10 Love was 15 of 27 from the field and hit eight 3-pointers in 39 minutes.

Center Nikola Pekovic added 18 points with 11 rebounds. Guards Kevin Martin had 14 points and Rick Rubio 15 with eight assists as Minnesota (11-12) had their all-time record fall to 9-41 in San Antonio.

Minnesota, which was down by eight entering the third quarter, outscored San Antonio 35-18. Love had 19 points and seven rebounds and was unstoppable. He connected on five 3-pointers in the third quarter as San Antonio searched for an answer.

"Coach (Adelman) set up a lot of plays for me out of the timeouts," Love said of his offensive outburst. "And there are certain nights where you just feel it, and tonight happened to be one of them for me. I was just hoping it would be for a win, so that's a little bit disheartening."

Leonard, who had 11 of the Spurs' 18 points in the period, tried to keep the game within reach.

Minnesota pressured the Spurs into 13 turnovers, giving them 21 points and rattling the lead from them. Until the veteran squad came back, attacking the rim. They outscored Minnesota in the paint 62-36.

"It's a tough loss," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said after the game. "We played well for most of the game. Defensively, we needed to play better than that. We gave them too much penetration, backdoors and points in the paint. It just killed us."

The Spurs seemed in control of the game when forward/center Matt Bonner drilled a 3-point basket with two seconds left to give the Spurs a 62-54 halftime lead.

The Spurs shot 58 percent in the first half, behind strong performances from Parker and Diaw. They combined for 27 first-half points for the Spurs.

San Antonio's bench outscored the Timberwolves' bench 55-12.

NOTES: Spurs C Aron Baynes (left posterior tibialis strain) and C Tiago Splitter (tightness left calf) did not suit up for the game. Both players are listed as day-to-day. ... Minnesota F Kevin Love leads the NBA with 20 double-doubles this season. He has 211 in his career but is well behind Spurs F Tim Duncan, who leads all active players with 770 career double-doubles. ... San Antonio's defense remains a strong component to their success. They are fourth in the league, allowing only 92.8 points per game. ... Minnesota and San Antonio were scheduled to play in Mexico City on Dec. 4, but the game was postponed because the arena became filled with smoke. The game will be rescheduled in Minnesota, but a date has not been announced.

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