There will be plenty of familiarity in the mix when the San Antonio Spurs host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in the third game between the teams over a stretch of seven days.
The teams spilt the two previous contests in Minneapolis, with the Spurs winning 115-106 on Monday and Minnesota prevailing 134-122 on Wednesday.
The Spurs have been one of the surprise teams in the early going, winning four of their six games including a 129-124 victory at home over Chicago on Friday. Keldon Johnson scored a season-high 33 points and canned a pair of free throws in the final seconds to lead San Antonio.
Jakob Poeltl added 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, with Zach Collins tallying 16, Jeremy Sochan scoring 13, Josh Richardson hitting for 12 and Tre Jones and Blake Wesley contributing 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“We’re super confident in each other, and the way we play is fun, it’s contagious,” Collins said after the win. “We all feed off each other and we know that to be successful, everyone’s got to touch the ball, everyone’s got to run the floor and cut hard. It’s about us believing we can play every night.”
San Antonio played without the injured Devin Vassell (left knee soreness), who will sit out again on Sunday.
The Spurs announced prior to Friday’s game that guard Joshua Primo had been waived. Primo, one of the team’s best young players, later released a statement saying he was dealing with “a mental health issue from a previous trauma.”
Minnesota enters after a 111-102 win at home over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Anthony Edwards poured in 29 points in the win, with Rudy Gobert adding 22 points and 21 rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 21 points, with 14 of them in the final quarter when the Timberwolves opened a double-digit lead.
The Timberwolves’ defense was the difference on Friday, forcing 22 turnovers that Minnesota turned into 25 points. The Timberwolves have won two straight and three of their past four – with Monday’s loss to San Antonio the lone setback.
“We made just enough plays here and there, really,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said after defeating the Lakers. “I see a ton of growth opportunity on both sides of the ball, with the bench, with everything, with the lineup combinations. I’m a prove-it-to-you guy. I still want to see it more.”
Edwards has been spectacular this season, scoring at least 30 points three times in the Timberwolves’ first six games. His poorest outing was on Monday against the Spurs when he had just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting, but responded in the rematch with a season-best 34 on Wednesday.
Edwards blitzed the Lakers for 16 of his 29 points in the third quarter.
“It’s part of the beauty of him I guess, right?” Finch said of Edwards. “He’s a big game hunter, and he wants those shots and believes he’s going to make them. He has great confidence that if he’s just done one thing, he’s going to do it again.”
–Field Level Media