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Timberwolves 110, Spurs 91



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. … Timberwolves reserve F Dante Cunningham played Tuesday despite being arrested twice in the previous five days. He was arrested early Thursday morning and charged Friday with a felony domestic assault count by strangulation. He played Saturday in Orlando but was jailed again Sunday afternoon on suspicion of making terroristic text-message threats to his live-in girlfriend. He was released Monday and has not been charged in connection with the latest allegations. … To add a healthy body, the Timberwolves signed Development League forward Othyus Jeffers on Tuesday afternoon for the rest of the season. He spent October with the Timberwolves but was one of the last preseason cuts. He played four games with the Spurs after being signed to a 10-day contract in January but otherwise has spent the season with the Iowa Energy. “He’s a great kid,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a real guy. He’s tough. He’s not fake tough.” … Tuesday’s rescheduled game requires the Timberwolves to play the Spurs and Chicago at home on back-to-back nights. The Bulls were already in town on Tuesday night and Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau watched the game from a mid-court spot in the stands about 12 rows up. … Other dignitaries Tuesday were Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, a former Timberwolves player and front-office executive who could be the team’s next coach, and Beach Boy singer Mike Love, Kevin Love’s uncle. … Tuesday’s game was rescheduled from a Dec. 4 game to be played in Mexico City until smoke from an generator malfunction filled the arena 90 minutes before the opening tip. Asked for his favorite Mexico City moment, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said, “My favorite there is getting on the plane and flying home.”

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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