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Spurs hold tough to beat Wolves

SAN ANTONIO -- Try as they might, the Minnesota Timberwolves just can't seem to get above .500. This time they attempted to get above .500 in San Antonio, but the Spurs held tough and beat the Timberwolves, 104-86, Sunday night at the AT&T Ce...

Nikola Pekovic
Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) is defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the first half Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. (Soobum Im / USA Today, Reuters)

SAN ANTONIO -- Try as they might, the Minnesota Timberwolves just can't seem to get above .500. This time they attempted to get above .500 in San Antonio, but the Spurs held tough and beat the Timberwolves, 104-86, Sunday night at the AT&T Center.

The Timberwolves (18-19) are winless the last nine times they entered a contest with a .500 record. The last time Minnesota was above .500 was Nov. 23, when it beat the Rockets. The Timberwolves have been mostly alternating wins and losses since.

San Antonio, on the other hand, has been hot. The Spurs have won their last four games and eight of their last nine.

The Spurs (29-8) were without guard Manu Ginobili, who is still day-to-day with a sore hamstring. In addition, reserve guard Danny Green left the game in the second quarter with a left hand injury and didn't return.

The Timberwolves struggled in the first half, shooting 18-of-45. Center Nikola Pekovic was the lone standout, hitting 7-of-11 shots for 14 points. Pekovic has been hot of late, averaging 23 points on 54 percent shooting and 10.6 rebounds in 11 games coming into Sunday's game. Pekovic finished with 22 points against the Spurs.

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Forward Kevin Love, who scored 42 in the first meeting with the Spurs, struggled, hitting only 3-of-14 shots. He finished with 14 points. He scored his first points on free throws with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

Kawhi Leonard led a balanced Spurs attack with 17 points and six rebounds. Forward Matt Bonner added 14 off the bench, hitting 4-of-5 three-pointers.

Forward Tim Duncan added 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Spurs.

NOTES: In the teams' first meeting this season, Timberwolves F Kevin Love scored 42 points, sank a franchise-record-tying eight 3-pointers and grabbed 14 rebounds in Minnesota's 117-110 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 13.

San Antonio 104, Minnesota 86

Minnesota 21 28 22 15 -- 86

San Antonio 28 24 29 23 -- 104

MINNESOTA (86)

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Love 3-14 8-11 14, Rubio 3-8 0-0 7, Pekovic 10-15 2-2 22, Kv.Martin 2-12 2-2 6, C.Brewer 1-5 0-0 2, Shved 4-7 0-0 11, Budinger 2-8 0-0 5, Barea 3-9 3-3 9, Turiaf 0-1 0-0 0, Cunningham 3-8 0-0 6, Mbah a Moute 0-3 0-0 0, A.Price 2-3 0-0 4, Dieng 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-93 15-18 86.

SAN ANTONIO (104)

K.Leonard 8-11 0-0 17, Parker 5-11 4-4 14, Duncan 5-9 5-6 15, Diaw 3-4 0-0 7, Da.Green 0-1 0-0 0, Mills 4-6 0-0 10, Belinelli 5-8 2-4 13, Bonner 5-10 0-0 14, Joseph 0-4 0-0 0, Ayres 4-7 0-0 8, Baynes 1-1 0-0 2, De Colo 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 42-74 11-14 104.

3-Point Goals Minnesota 5-17 (Shved 3-4, Budinger 1-2, Rubio 1-2, C.Brewer 0-1, Mbah a Moute 0-1, Barea 0-2, Love 0-2, Kv.Martin 0-3), San Antonio 9-13 (Bonner 4-5, Mills 2-3, Diaw 1-1, K.Leonard 1-1, Belinelli 1-3). Fouled out None. Rebounds Minnesota 44 (Love 7), San Antonio 54 (Duncan 8). Assists Minnesota 17 (Rubio 8), San Antonio 31 (Parker 10). Total Fouls Minnesota 13 (Pekovic 3), San Antonio 19 (Ayres 4). A--18,098.

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