National Basketball Association
Preview
San Antonio at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, November 21, 2014
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

After a few bumps in the road early on, San Antonio is beginning to look like the defending NBA champions again. The Spurs, winners of five of their last six games following a 2-3 start, look to keep their surge going Friday at shorthanded Minnesota in the finale of a two-game road trip. The first half of the quick trip saw Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw lead a balanced attack with 19 points apiece in a solid 92-90 win at Cleveland.

As always, Duncan has been a steadying force for San Antonio, recording double-doubles in six of the team's seven victories, the one exception being the 25-point rout of Philadelphia on Monday that afforded head coach Gregg Popovich the opportunity to rest his starters down the stretch. Those little breaks will help keep the Spurs fresh, especially compared to a Timberwolves group that is without three starters. Kevin Martin put Minnesota on his shoulders with a season-high 37 points in a 115-99 win over New York on Wednesday, snapping the Timerwolves' five-game slide.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (San Antonio), FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE SPURS (7-4): San Antonio limited a talented Cleveland crew to just 43 second-half points and forced 18 turnovers overall in Wednesday's win, helping to cement the Spurs at or near the top of many defensive categories. The Spurs, who have held four of their last six opponents to 90 points or fewer, entered Thursday leading the league in scoring defense (91.6) and opponents' 3-point shooting (27.5) percent. Swingman Kawhi Leonard has seven steals in his last two games and is one of nine NBA players averaging at least two a game.

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (3-7):
With point guard Ricky Rubio (ankle) out until December, center Nikola Pekovic (wrist) sidelined at least two more games and forward Thaddeus Young (personal) out until Sunday, Minnesota leaned heavily on Martin on Wednesday. The streaky scorer delivered with his second straight 30-plus scoring effort, making 7-of-11 3-pointers in the process. Martin's uptick in production coincides with an increase in playing time for point guard Mo Williams, who finished with 14 points and 13 assists in his first start of the season Wednesday.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. While the Spurs limit opponents from beyond the arc better than anyone in the league, Minnesota allows foes to shoot 43 percent from long distance, 29th in the NBA.

2. Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer had six steals against the Knicks and is tied for fifth overall with 2.1 per game.

3. Spurs G Marco Belinelli (groin) has missed eight consecutive games.

PREDICTION: Spurs 97, Timberwolves 93
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
San Antonio 7-4 W2 3-1 4-3 0-0 7-4 1-2 4-4
Minnesota 3-7 W1 2-1 1-5 0-0 3-7 0-0 0-4
Last Meeting
San Antonio Minnesota
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/8/14 SA 91 MIN 110 91 37 44.4 110 52 46.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio B. Diaw 13 46.2 0
Minnesota R. Rubio 23 58.8 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio B. Diaw 6 2 4
Minnesota G. Dieng 15 7 8
Assists Player  
San Antonio B. Diaw 5
Minnesota R. Rubio 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio T. Parker 216 48.2 42
Minnesota K. Martin 217 46.9 54
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio T. Duncan 130 28 102
Minnesota N. Pekovic 115 44 71
Assists Player  
San Antonio T. Parker 82
Minnesota R. Rubio 84
Quickchart Matchup
San Antonio Off vs  Minnesota Defense
94.7 Points For
108.9 Points Against
43.7 FG%
50.9 FG%
43.1 Reb
39.8 Reb
Minnesota Off vs  San Antonio Defense
102.0 Points For
91.6 Points Against
44.7 FG%
43.5 FG%
39.8 Reb
40.1 Reb