Thursday , Mar , 18 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Top two Midwest Divison teams meet in San Antonio

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – The San Antonio Spurs try to draw closer
in the Midwest Division this evening when they welcome the first-place
Minnesota Timerbwolves at the SBC Center.

San Antonio, which is fourth in the Western Conference playoff race, trails
the Timberwolves by 2 1/2 games for the top spot in the Midwest Division.
Minnesota, meanwhile, is 2 1/2 games back of the Sacramento Kings for the
overall lead in the Western Conference.

The defending champion Spurs enter tonight’s contest riding a two-game losing
streak after falling to the Golden State Warriors, 97-80, on Monday at the
Arena. Tony Parker scored a game-high 29 points with six assists and five
rebounds, while Manu Ginobili was the only other scorer in double figures for
San Antonio with 16 points.

San Antonio continued to play without two-time MVP Tim Duncan, who missed
his ninth game in the Spurs’ last 10 with a knee injury. Duncan, though,
scrimmaged with his teammates Wednesday in his first full-scale workout since
he played 15 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 10 and will be
a game-time decision tonight.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Parker, who has scored in double digits in
seven of his last eight games, did not practice Wednesday after bruising his
right quadriceps in Monday’s loss. However, he is expected to start tonight.

San Antonio, which will wrap up a two-game homestand on Saturday against
Boston, has won four straight and seven of its last eight at home and is 24-8
in its gym this season.

Minnesota also comes into tonight’s divisional battle on a losing note after
falling to the Portland Trail Blazers, 92-83, on Sunday at the Target Center.

Kevin Garnett collected 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the
Timberwolves, who have just three wins in their last eight games. Sam Cassell
contributed 20 points and eight helpers in the losing effort.

Garnett has scored 20 or more points in nine straight games and has averaged
24.4 points and 13 rebounds in that span.

Minnesota, which is undefeated in its four games played on Thursdays this
season, has won four of six and seven of 11 on the road and is 21-11 away from
home this season.

The Timberwolves have split their two meetings with the Spurs this season and
have won three of the last five matchups. Minnesota has also had some success
in San Antonio, where they have won two straight and three of their last four.