Towns, Timberwolves hold off Wembanyama, Spurs 117-110 in tournament opener for fifth straight win
Fri, Nov 10, 2023
NBA News (AP)
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame 29 points from Victor Wembanyama to hold off the San Antonio Spurs 117-110 on Friday night in their In-Season Tournament opener.
Anthony Edwards added 28 points and Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota won its fifth straight.
Wembanyama was 12 for 21 from the field and 3 for 7 on 3-pointers. The No. 1 pick, who was coming off a difficult debut at Madison Square Garden in a loss to New York on Wednesday, added nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Devin Vassell added 29 points for San Antonio.
Minnesota had notable victories over Boston and Denver but had not won on the road this season.
San Antonio has lost four straight, dropping its previous two by an average of 31 points to Indiana and the Knicks.
In danger of another blowout loss, the Spurs opened the final quarter shooting 9 for 12 from the field and 3 for 5 on 3-pointers to close within 104-97 with three minutes remaining.
The Timberwolves did not let the Spurs get any closer.
Minnesota built an 18-point lead in the third quarter after a sluggish start.
The Wolves were 9 for 15 on 3-pointers in the second and third quarters while outscoring the Spurs 68-46. Minnesota outscored San Antonio 34-19 in the third, sparked by a 19-5 run.
The Spurs limited the Wolves to 22 points in the first quarter after allowing 44 and 33 in the opening period of their previous games.
Zach Collins and Jeremy Sochan combined to score 13 of the Spurs' first 21 points. Sochan finished with 14 points and Collins had 11.
Vassell returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a strained left groin and coming off the bench in his return Wednesday at New York.
San Antonio and Minnesota are in West Group C along with Golden State, Sacramento, and Oklahoma City for the inaugural tournament. The games count toward regular-season records except for the tournament final, set for Las Vegas in December.
"I think the fans are the ones that are more excited than we are," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "It gives them a lot of things to talk about. It's kind of a portent of maybe who's going to be there at the end of the year, and they can talk about that. I think it will be a heightened competitive environment amongst the players for sure."
Timberwolves: At Golden State on Sunday.
Spurs: Host Miami on Sunday."