Maybe it was a hangover from the Spurs’ resounding win over Oklahoma City the night before. Maybe it was the expected result of an older team, playing without three starters, on the second night of a long-distance back-to-back.
Maybe, given the way the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA went suddenly unconscious from beyond the arc, it was exactly as Stephen Jackson said it was.
“It shines on a dog’s ass every now and then,” Jackson said.
Whatever excuse one could muster to explain the Spurs’ 107-83 loss at struggling and short-handed Minnesota on Tuesday night, Manu Ginobili was there to swat it away.
“Bottom line is we played a bad, bad game,” Ginobili said.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, played their best game of the season.
Led by precocious Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio and his first career triple-double, Minnesota — loser of 24 of its previous 28 games — used a 29-10 second quarter to demolish the Western Conference-leading Spurs.
Rubio recorded 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, as the Spurs followed up Monday’s chest-thumping victory over the Thunder in San Antonio with a face-first pratfall at the Target Center.
The Timberwolves, who came into the game shooting 29.3 percent from 3-point range, made a season-best 12 of 20. The Spurs committed 17 turnovers, giving rise to 30 Minnesota points.
Those two developments combined to make for another long night for the Spurs, four days removed from absorbing a 136-106 beating from Portland on Friday.
“It’s happening too often now,” Ginobili said. “That should worry us. We can’t let this happen again.”
The Spurs (49-16) played without All-Star forward Tim Duncan and starting small forward Kawhi Leonard, both of whom stayed home nursing sore left knees. All-Star point guard Tony Parker missed his fifth consecutive game with a left ankle sprain.
Color Minnesota unimpressed with the star power of the Spurs’ inactive list. The Timberwolves dressed only nine players, not one of which was All-Star forward Kevin Love, still out with a broken hand.
Minnesota (22-39) scored 12 consecutive points to start the second quarter, on two 3-pointers apiece from J.J. Barea (17 points) and rookie Alexey Shved (16 points), to seize control of the game.
“We gave them confidence,” said Jackson, who scored 14 points starting for Leonard. “You give any team in the NBA confidence, they’re going to play well.”
Rubio gets triple-double, Spurs get re-routed
San Antonio Express-News | Mar 13