The Wolves had no answer for Tony Parker and Danny Green, who kept the Spurs rolling without two injured mainstays.
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman guaranteed before Wednesday's 104-94 loss to San Antonio that Spurs star Tony Parker would not score 55 points, as he did in a game when the Spurs played shorthanded at Target Center four seasons ago.
He made no such promise about limiting Danny Green to anything.
The Spurs opened their nine-game February "rodeo" trip Wednesday by winning their 11th consecutive game despite playing without injured stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
They did so because Parker and Green simply went about creating enough havoc all by themselves in a system that hums along whether Duncan, Ginobili or Parker -- or perhaps even all three -- are absent.
On Wednesday, Parker created repeatedly with his unstoppable dribble and Green floated to open spaces all night, confident that Parker, backup point guard Nando De Colo or even undersized big man DeJuan Blair would find him free and ready to shoot.
Green scored a career-high 28 points by hoisting a dozen three-point shots and making eight, or as many as the Wolves together made all night.
"I don't know man, it came out of nowhere," Green said afterward. "Sometimes it happens that way."
Green transformed the game with a 14-point fourth quarter when he made half of those eight three-pointers. Two of them came in an 11-2 run when Green scored every San Antonio point and the Spurs turned a 79-77 deficit with 7:45 left into an 88-81 lead with less than four minutes left.
"You hit a couple, you don't know how you still get open," Green said.
But he did, partly because of the attention Parker generates all by himself, partly because of the Wolves' confused defensive schemes, partly because the Spurs can run what they want, when they want whether Duncan or Parker or Ginobili is on the floor or not.
"The system doesn't change if those guys are out," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "If Tony was out, somebody else would play. They just run the same stuff. We don't change anything."
Of course, the Spurs are missing Duncan and Ginobili for only a couple of games while the Wolves continue to play without Kevin Love, reserve forward Chase Budinger and starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who missed the game because of a strained quad. Mickael Gelabale started in his place.
"We are nowhere as hurt as they are," Popovich said. "Minnesota has had it tough that way."
The Wolves lost for the 13th time in their past 15 games. Meanwhile, the Spurs' 39-11 mark is the best in the NBA.
"That's a good team right there," said Wolves forward Derrick Williams, who provided a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double. "A championship-type team. Nothing fazes them."
Green was a second-round pick by Cleveland in a 2009 draft when the Wolves had four first-rounders and six selections overall and only have Ricky Rubio from that group to show for it.
Williams was asked afterward if he knew exactly how many three-pointers Green had made.
"Seemed like 10," Williams said. "Was I pretty close?
"There's the game right there," Williams said. "How many did he take?"
"Eight of 10 from three," Williams said, "you're not going to win many games giving up that."
|Pittsburgh - WP: B. Morris||8||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure||7|
|Washington - LP: S. Strasburg||2||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: T. Koehler||11|
|Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole||5||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: M. Leake||7|
|Seattle - LP: B. Beavan||0||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr.||5|
|St. Louis - WP: S. Miller||6||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Estrada||1|
|Boston - LP: B. Badenhop||1||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb||2|
|Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura||4||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: L. Harrell||2|
|Toronto - WP: A. Loup||9||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes||3|
|NY Mets - WP: J. Mejia||9||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: B. Arroyo||0|
|Oakland - WP: J. Johnson||10||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: Y. Herrera||9|
|Colorado - WP: J. Nicasio||3||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: R. Erlin||2|
|Los Angeles - LP: B. League||2||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit||3|