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Old 03-19-2009, 04:22 PM   #1
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Talking Duncan sits as Spurs beat Wolves 93-86

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Duncan sits as Spurs beat Wolves 93-86


San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, left, guard Tony Parker, center, of France, and guard Manu Ginobili, right, of Argentina, sit on the bench during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in San Antonio, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. Ginobili is out injured and Duncan was given the night off. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Thinking already about the playoffs, Tim Duncan took the night off against a team the San Antonio Spurs won't have to worry about once they get there.

Resting his sometimes troubled knees in the final game of a back-to-back for San Antonio, Duncan watched from the bench as Tony Parker scored 24 points and carried the Spurs to a 93-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

One night after losing at Oklahoma City to one lottery-bound team, Duncan was forced to sit against another. He wanted to play, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he wants Duncan healthy for the stretch run even more.

It was the back-to-back that kept Duncan out, but history was on San Antonio's side anyway against the Wolves: Minnesota continued its misery against the Spurs, losing for the 14th time in the last 15 meetings.

``He doesn't love (sitting out), but it's important for him to be fresh and healthy at the end of the season,'' Popovich said of resting Duncan.

In sweeping the Wolves 4-0 this season, the Spurs pushed their lead over Houston to two games for the No. 2 seed in the West. They did so behind Parker, who averaged 33 points in the four wins over the Timberwolves.

Sebastian Telfair and Kevin Love had 17 points apiece for Minnesota.

Roger Mason had 15 points for the Spurs, who now await a bigger test Friday at home against the Boston Celtics. Against Northwest Division-worst Oklahoma City on Monday, the Spurs blew a 17-point lead. The Spurs struggled again early against Minnesota - only a game better than the Thunder - before putting the Wolves away in the fourth.

Spurs guard George Hill said the win was one the Spurs ``desperately needed.''

``I think more because we beat Houston (on Saturday) than we gave one away to Oklahoma City,'' Hill said. ``Right now it's a tight race in the West and every game is needed.''

Mike Miller scored 15 for the Wolves. Love also had 19 rebounds, one shy of the Minnesota rookie record set by Dean Garrett against San Antonio in 1997.

``Duncan and (Manu) Ginobili are both out; we had our chances,'' Love said. ``We got the lead early, but we kind of let the refs consume us a little bit. We should have kept coming hard. We made a little bit of a comeback. But they just kept going to the rim and getting to the foul line.''

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Old 03-19-2009, 04:22 PM   #2
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