Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Dallas-mavericks-san
"We need him. He plays a big role for us. He’s a spark for us. He can come in and knock down some shots for us.” That was San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (12 points, 9 rebounds, 7 blocks, 5 assists) on his teammate Gary Neal (15 points), who led a fourth quarter charge (10 points) for the Spurs to put the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves away in the fourth quarter with a 106-88 victory on Sunday. The Spurs lost Manu Ginobili (12 points, 5 assists) in the first half to a strained left hamstring, while Tony Parker led the team with 20 points and six assists for three quarters, but it was the Spurs’ bench throughout the night, that was able to allow the starters to rest in the fourth quarter. Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ 17th victory of the season by 10 or more points. First Half: Spurs 55, Timberwolves 50 Manu injured – Ginobili had been the spark the Spurs needed to get back in the game in the first quarter, but in the final minute of the second, Ginobili strained his left hamstring in a pick-and-roll play that would sideline him for the remainder of the game. When asked if he knew the extent of Ginobili’s injury, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said the team would find out on Monday. "We've gotta step up," said Stephen Jackson of the Spurs losing Ginobili, "one person won't fill Manu's shoes." The Pekovic – Nikola Pekovic (14 points) ended the first half with 12 points, using a variety of ways to score, most from around the rim on 5-of-10 shooting. He also got Tiago Splitter (10 points) into foul trouble as Splitter had gathered three fouls by the half. Blair scores quickly – DeJuan Blair was the story early in the second quarter as he was able to use the pick-and-roll sets to score nine points in roughly six minutes of playing time. “I just felt that’s what we needed at the time,” said Coach Popovich of playing Blair early in the game. Duncan’s house – In just one half, Duncan manned the paint as he blocked six Timberwolves shots. Attributed to Duncan holding the paint down, the Wolves shot just 40% from the field at the half. “Well,” said Popovich after the game of Duncan’s blocks, “he’s been the base of what we’ve done defensively for 16 years, so I don’t think it’s a huge surprise.” “I don’t know,” said Duncan on his 7 blocks after the game, “they just kept coming at me.” Turnovers were quietly present – Though they didn’t turn it over consecutively as they had been in the past three games, the Spurs did turn the ball over nine times by halftime. Duncan was responsible for three of them. Second Half: Spurs 106, Timberwolves 88 Parker scoring – Though he didn’t play in the fourth quarter, Parker kept the Spurs ahead of the Wolves throughout the third quarter as he used more of his tear-drops to pace the Spurs with eight points in the third. Neal seals the deal – The Spurs blew the game open in the final quarter by shooting 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Neal delivered the most daggers as he shot 100% from distance (2/2) in the fourth, and was able to score 10 points alone in the final quarter. “He shot the ball great and that was a great impetus,” said Popovich of Neal’s play, “but we finally found a group that moved the basketball instead of standing.” Pop ejected – With 7:22 left in the game and the Spurs leading 90-77, coach Popovich received back-to-back technical fouls and was ejected from the game. The Spurs would use the energy from their coach to finish the game outscoring the Wolves 16-11. “Is that my dad?” Am I Pop Jr?” joked  Jackson after the game. "Every player loves a coach who goes to bat for them," continued Jackson. "You can't get love (from your coach) better than Gregg Popovich." Spurs bench – The Spurs’ bench was the story of the night where even before Ginobili was injured, they were already making a difference. The team outscored the Wolves 55-39 off of the bench. Popovich discussed his bench play after the game, “We finally found a group that did pretty well and we got a little bit of separation.” The Spurs’ bench also racked up 17 assists, while the starters only had 14 assists. On the night, the team totaled 31 assists. “When we’re moving the ball,” said Neal after the game, “we’re one of the best teams in the NBA offensively.” With the win, the Spurs move to 29-11 on the season and 16-2 at the AT&T Center. The team they just lost to on Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies, will be visiting the AT&T Center next on Wednesday. Both Duncan and Jackson had some comments regarding their upcoming opponent, "It's going to be a physical game," said Duncan. "We've got to start playing these games like they're playoff games," added Jackson on the Grizzlies coming into town on Wednesday. Post-game notes Green gone cold – Before Sunday, Danny Green was 3-of-12 from 3-point range. After missing all four of his 3-pointer on Sunday against the Wolves, Green finds himself 3-of-16 in his last four games. Jack a Texans fan? – In the locker room after the game, Jackson was disappointed to find out the Houston Texans had lost their playoff game to the New England Patriots 41-28. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

CC Sabathia goes off about spring training stats

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Alabama DT arrested on domestic violence charges again

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Aaron Rodgers, sports writer get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.