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Spurs beat Timberwolves in OT, clinch playoff spot (Yahoo Sports)



SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs didn’t get much sleep after a long night’s work Friday. It didn’t seem to bother San Antonio’s All-Star forward, at least.

Leonard had 34 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs overcame a listless start to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-90 in overtime Saturday night.

”After LeBron (James), he’s the most dominant player in the league right now,” said Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio, who had his fifth career triple-double.

San Antonio wrapped up its 20th straight playoff spot with the victory. They won in overtime for the second straight night to extend their winning streak to seven and improve to 48-13.

Leonard had six points in overtime and played 44 minutes after playing 40 minutes on Friday night in New Orleans. He finished with six steals and five assists as San Antonio beat Minnesota for the 10th straight time.

”We got in pretty late,” Leonard said. ”But I just have to stay in it, be mentally focused for the next game and that’s how you have to play.”

LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, and Pau Gasol had 17 points and eight rebounds in his fifth straight game as a reserve. The Spurs outscored the Timberwolves 35-20 in the final quarter and overtime.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota. The Timberwolves had not played since Wednesday night in Utah and had won four of five.

Rubio had 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

”Overall, we played a pretty good game, but mistakes,” Rubio said. ”We got too many turnovers. At the end, they got a couple of key rebounds that were key.”

San Antonio sat Manu Ginobili for rest, but it seemed most of the team needed a break following Friday night.

”I’m tired, but I’m happy,” Gasol said. ”Happiness overcomes the fatigue.”

The Spurs looked tired after landing in San Antonio at 2 a.m. Saturday following a 101-98 victory over the Pelicans.

San Antonio trailed by 16 points in the first half against Minnesota after matching its season low for points in the first quarter, with six field goals and five turnovers in scoring 14 points. The Spurs went scoreless for three minutes during the first quarter as Minnesota went on a 15-4 run.

San Antonio failed to score 20 points in the first and third quarters but held Minnesota to 15 in the third to set the stage for a fourth quarter rally.

Leonard pulled San Antonio within a point twice midway through the first quarter, the first on a 3-pointer and the second on a short jumper to pull back within 75-74. His short runner with 2:40 left gave the Spurs their first lead at 80-78.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Minnesota is 5-29 when scoring less than 100 points. … The Timberwolves finished their four-game road trip at 2-2. … Minnesota’s last victory against the Spurs was on April 8, 2014, and its last win in San Antonio was on April 17, 2013.

Spurs: Leonard has scored 30-plus points in 22 games this season. He joined George Gervin and David Robinson as the only players in franchise history to score 30-plus in at least 20 games in a season. … Leonard has scored in double figures in 90 straight games, the longest streak by the Spurs since Tim Duncan had 91 straight in 2002-2003. … Gasol has scored in double figures in all five games since returning from a broken left finger. … San Antonio is 10-1 in the second night of back-to-back games. … The Spurs set their season-low for points in the first quarter with 14 points against Memphis on Feb. 6.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Host Portland on Monday night.

Spurs: Host Houston on Monday night.

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