Timberwolves beat Spurs for 2nd straight win
By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Rick Adelman was wondering how his young Minnesota Timberwolves would handle their first taste of prosperity.
He couldn't have been much happier after watching them thump the San Antonio Spurs, who now find themselves knee deep in adversity with the loss of star guard Manu Ginobili.
Kevin Love had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves to their second win in a row, 106-96 Monday night over the Spurs, who lost Ginobili to a broken left hand.
Luke Ridnour had 19 points and nine assists and Wes Johnson broke out of a shooting slump with 14 points and 6-for-6 shooting for the Timberwolves, who snapped an 18-game losing streak with a win over Dallas on Sunday.
"You're not satisfied with last night, you build off of it," said Adelman, whose Wolves scored 65 points in the first half on the second night of a back-to-back. "That's what I just told them. We've got two more home games on this homestand and we want to build off it."
Ginobili injured his shooting hand in the second quarter. The two-time All-Star will be examined in San Antonio on Tuesday.
"It's going to be tough for us because he was playing at an All-Star level," said point guard Tony Parker, who had 11 points and nine assists. "And now we're going to have to have everybody pick it up."
The Timberwolves shot 58 percent for the game and were above 70 percent shooting midway through the third quarter.
Playing with five stitches in the index finger on his shooting hand, Michael Beasley had 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and Johnson bounced back after going 3 for 13 in his previous two games.
"I was pressing," Johnson said. "I was trying to find my shot moreso than letting it come to me. As I saw tonight, if I just be patient, it's there."
The Spurs will get over the loss to Minnesota quickly. The loss of Ginobili could linger for a while.
The team's leading scorer is the emotional and fiery center of this proud, veteran team. With Duncan getting older and having his minutes limited to save him for the postseason, the offense revolves around Ginobili's perimeter shooting and slashing to the basket.
"Manu is pretty important to us and we lost him," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We'll just have to deal with it."
The former Sixth Man of the Year quickly walked to the locker room after he was injured for X-rays, which revealed a broken fifth metacarpal on his shooting hand.
"He means a lot to the team," said James Anderson, who figures to get a lot of the playing time in Ginobili's absence. "He's one of the biggest plusses to the team. Without him we lose a lot of stuff, and that's on both ends."
Without Ginobili's offensive punch, the Spurs simply couldn't keep up with Minnesota's torrid shooting.
The Spurs have hung their hats on the defensive end for years, building a championship foundation that let opponents know they were going to have to work for every bucket against Duncan and Co. Coming into the game, they held their previous two opponents to 4 for 33 on 3-pointers.
That's why it was so startling to see the Timberwolves have such an easy time on Monday night. They shot a scorching 67 percent from the field in the first half, including 7 for 8 from 3-point range. A lot of those were wide open looks for Love, who buried 3 of 4 from long range thanks to superb ball movement from Ridnour and Ricky Rubio at the point.
The Wolves hit 12 of 21 shots from deep for the game.
Rubio, the impressive rookie from Spain, was quiet with six points and three assists in 24 minutes, but the veteran Ridnour more than picked up the slack by hitting seven of his 10 shots and two of three 3-pointers.
"There's going to be so many games this year, if you can try to find a way to get on a run at home, it's going to help you in the long run," Ridnour said. "To be able to win two in a row against Dallas and San Antonio, for this team, is huge."
NOTES: Timberwolves G JJ Barea sat out the game to rest his strained right hamstring. ... Spurs G Gary Neal, who has not played this season because of an appendectomy, has been assigned to the D-League Austin Toros to get some practice time in before rejoining the team. ... Danny Green played a solid 17 minutes for the Spurs, scoring nine points and playing tough defense on Rubio.
Updated January 3, 2012