San Antonio Spurs: Block Party
In a continuing trend of the San Antonio Spurs 40th anniversary season, Tim Duncan once again turned back the clock to post up quality numbers in a Spurs win. On Sunday night it was Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves that bore witness to vintage Timmy who patrolled the paint with 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 blocks in only three quarters. The Spurs finished the night with 13 blocks en route to a 106-88 victory, which marked their 12th consecutive win at the AT&T Center.
“Well, he’s been the base of what we’ve done defensively for 16 years, so I don’t think it’s a huge surprise,” said Coach Pop whose ejection in the fourth quarter helped spark the Spurs. “It’s kind of neat that it was seven (blocks), but he does that every night. He tries to do the best he can guarding, blocking shots and protecting the rim for us. He’s been doing that a long time and tonight he got a few more blocks than usual.”
After missing last year’s All-Star game in Orlando, Duncan looks primed to return to the league’s mid-season classic where he should be joined by Spurs quarterback Tony Parker. Parker is having another MVP caliber season and his almost effortless 20 points paced the Spurs against the Timberwolves. With the rodeo road trip less than a month away look to the Spurs to lean heavily on Parker as the season grinds on, particularly with Manu Ginobili nursing an injured hamstring.
“This is what you call ‘the dog days’ right around now,” said Duncan following the game. “Guys are a little tired. Our schedule is a little tough, but we’re working through it. We’re winning games. We’re fighting. We’re not playing as well as we want to, but we’re trying to get back to where we feel like we have a good rhythm. We have a big one coming up and we’re excited about that one.”
On Wednesday night the Spurs will hit the court against Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies who are only two and a half games behind them in the Southwest division. They recently faltered to them in Memphis in an overtime thriller where San Antonio was plagued by turnovers. For the Spurs to succeed, the front-court tandem of Duncan and Tiago Splitter must respond to the physical play that makes Memphis such a thorny opponent. — M. Solis