Aldridge’s 39 points leads Spurs past Wolves, 117-101
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 39 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a sluggish start to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-101 on Saturday night.
San Antonio won its third straight to move into fifth in the Western Conference five days after dropping to 10th and out of playoff position.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which dropped to sixth in the West.
The Spurs had lost three straight and nine of 11 but are now unbeaten halfway through a six-game homestand.
San Antonio shot 84 percent in the second quarter, their best shooting quarter since 2010. The run was fueled by Aldridge.
Two nights after battling New Orleans’ Anthony Davis on both ends, Aldridge had to take on another All-Star in Towns. Aldridge responded by leading the Spurs in scoring for the 49th time this season while helping keep Towns in check.
Aldridge scored 18 of 21 points during a five-minute stretch in the second quarter, including 12 straight. He capped the run by coming from the weak side to swat Towns’ floater deep into the seats.
Minnesota started quickly, shooting 78 percent from the floor in the first 5½ minutes while San Antonio floundered at 17 percent. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called timeout, only to watch the Timberwolves’ Jeff Teague steal the ball once play resumed.
The Spurs responded behind veteran reserves Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay. San Antonio went on a 16-4 run bridging the first and second quarters to take a 29-26 lead.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points for Minnesota and Teague had 16.
Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler missed his eighth straight game following right knee meniscus surgery. … Derrick Rose had eight points in 15 minutes, both season highs with Minnesota. … The Timberwolves are 9-49 against the Spurs in San Antonio. … Minnesota’s last win at San Antonio was April 17, 2013.
Spurs: Popovich said before the game that Kawhi Leonard has not been medically cleared to return. He would not speculate on whether the star forward could play in the playoffs without playing again in the regular season. … San Antonio shot 86 percent in the third quarter against Golden State in 2010.
Timberwolves: Host Houston on Sunday night.
Spurs: Host Houston on Monday night.