Spurs stand in way of Wolves earning rare win streak

NBA

The Minnesota Timberwolves will aim for their second win in as many nights when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

Minnesota is coming off a 107-97 home win over the Sacramento Kings one night earlier. Anthony Edwards scored a team-high 26 points in the victory, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 22.

Now, the Timberwolves will try to make it back-to-back victories. That has not been an easy task this season, as Minnesota has followed up each of its past three wins with a loss.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said his team can’t afford to get complacent after good games.

“That’s our challenge,” Finch said. “It’s always been our challenge here. We’ve got a couple games at home here that we have to take advantage of.”

Meanwhile, the Spurs would be happy with a single victory, let alone two in a row. San Antonio has dropped three straight games against the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers and has dropped 10 of its first 14 games this season.

Dejounte Murray has led the Spurs with averages of 18.9 points and 8.1 assists this season to go along with 8.1 rebounds. Keldon Johnson is next on the scoring list at 15.6 points per game.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has taken a big-picture view of his team, which is filled with younger players. He kept a sense of perspective after San Antonio’s latest loss, a 106-92 setback against Paul George and the Clippers on Tuesday night.

“The effort is there,” Popovich said. “They are growing, doing little things better all the time. Frustrating to lose, but when a team is working that hard and willing to learn, it’s enjoyable as (heck) even in a loss.”

Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl could return Thursday after missing seven games while being in the league’s health and safety protocols and then working to regain his fitness. He is averaging 13.9 points and 9.7 rebounds this season, well above his career averages of 6.2 points and 5.5 boards since joining the NBA in 2016.

If Poetl plays, the 7-foot-1 Utah alum could match up against Towns. The Timberwolves big man, who turned 26 years old earlier this week, boasts career averages of 22.9 points and 11.6 rebounds since the Timberwolves picked him No. 1 overall in 2015 out of Kentucky.

Individual statistics are fine, but Towns is hoping to be part of a winning team. He spoke recently about his communication on and off the court with Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, who comprise the Timberwolves’ top three players and will have to jell in order for Minnesota to improve upon its inconsistent start to the season.

“It’s more about trying to find the flow, trying to find out how can all of us have a high usage but also play off of each other,” Towns said. “I guess that’s the best word to put it together, a flow. I think that’s what we talk about more.”

Minnesota is 3-6 at home. San Antonio is 2-6 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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