When it came to containing Spurs point guard Tony Parker, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman arrived at the Target Center on Wednesday with modest goals.
Apprised that Parker once had a 55-point game in this building — in a Nov. 5, 2008 outing that predated his term as the Timberwolves’ boss — Adelman’s eyes widened.
“We’ll keep him under that,” Adelman deadpanned. “I guarantee it.”
Perhaps the Timberwolves should have been more concerned with Parker’s backcourt mate.
Behind a career-high 28 points from shooting guard Danny Green, made possible by a career-high eight 3-pointers, the Spurs kicked off their annual rodeo trip with a 104-94 victory.
Parker ended with 31 points and eight assists, and Kawhi Leonard matched a season-high with 19 points and 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double.
The Spurs earned their 11th consecutive victory — extending the 14th double-digit winning streak of the Gregg Popovich coaching era — without injured stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
“It shows we’re consistent and we try to play consistent basketball,” said Parker, who notched his seventh 30-point game of the season. “We care. We don’t take any game for granted.”
With Duncan in street clothes and Ginobili in uniform only because he forgot his league-required sport coat, the Spurs still couldn’t kvetch about their star-studded medical report.
Duncan and Ginobili participated in the Spurs’ shootaround before Popovich ruled them out, a sign that they are on track to return at some point on the nine-game road trip that straddles the All-Star break.
The Timberwolves, already without All-Star forward Kevin Love and seemingly half their regular rotation, also played without starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who was out with a quadriceps strain.
“They’ve had it really tough,” Popovich said.
With NBA commissioner David Stern watching from near midcourt — no truth to the rumor he asked to check Duncan’s MRI scan before the game — the Spurs improved to an NBA-best 39-11.
Green puts just enough kick into rodeo trip’s start
San Antonio Express-News | Feb 7