March 17, 2018, 11:57 pm
You wouldn’t know that the Spurs were hanging on for their playoff lives after experiencing this game. San Antonio dominated from the second quarter onward thanks to a vintage performance from LaMarcus Aldridge.
LMA had is way on both sides of the ball in this one, going for 39 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks on 14-of-22 shooting and 11-of-12 from the line, while holding down the paint and making life difficult for Karl-Anthony Towns, Taj Gibson and whoever dared challenge the rim.
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS TAKING OVER! pic.twitter.com/N51eDmdFMU
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 18, 2018
With Kawhi Leonard out, Aldridge has gladly taken over the alpha-dog role in the offense, though it has resulted in inconsistent play at best. Their 3-point shooting has fallen in a major way and Aldridge hasn’t always been an efficient lead option.
That, of course, was not the issue tonight. Their 3-point shooting was disastrous, going just 6-of-26 from beyond the arc, but shot 61 percent from inside the arc and 93 percent from the line, committing just five turnovers.
On the other side the Spurs kept the Wolves out of rhythm. It wasn’t a masterful defensive effort, but enough to keep one of the best offenses uncomfortable. The Wolves uncharacteristically had 16 turnovers on the night and shot just 46 percent inside the arc. They did hit 7-of-12 shots beyond the arc, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Things were looking up after the first quarter with the Wolves leading 22-13 midway through. It didn’t last long, though, as the Spurs went on to make 19 straight field-goals, including their first 15 in the second quarter. From the 4 minutes mark in the first through halftime, the Spurs made 20-of-24 shots for an 18-point swing.
Ultimately the Wolves never recovered from the onslaught and the Spurs were able to just keep feeding Aldridge.
Towns had a good game in the box score with 23 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers on 8-of-15 shooting, but it doesn’t show how much Towns had to work for those shots thanks to Aldridge.
Andrew Wiggins had a solid game as well with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists on 8-of-15 shooting, but wasn’t enough.
Outside of the young duo, there was minimal support, and once again the bench was a huge letdown. Thibs keeps going to the Tyus Jones, Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose lineup and it continues to crash and burn. The San Antonio bench thoroughly dominated the Wolves’ thanks to the efforts of Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Manu Ginobili.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t look like Thibs intends to switch things up (what’s new), at least for the time being.
The Pelicans and Nuggets lost tonight, while the Jazz won, putting the Wolves in a three-way tie in the West. The Jazz, Spurs and Wolves are all 40-30 on the season.
The Wolves have a quick turnaround with the Houston Rockets tomorrow evening, thankfully on their home floor. Houston is looking to put some distance between them and the Warriors, who are limping into the playoffs.