The presence of Ricky Rubio already made an impact to the ‘Wolves.
But the absence of Manu Ginobili made a greater impact on the Spurs.
The Timberwolves finally solved the Spurs at home, 106-96, their second big win after upsetting the defending champs Dallas Mavericks just the other night. Phenom guard Ricky Rubio wasn’t as hot and sizzling as in other nights, but Luke Ridnour picked up the slack with 19 points and 6 assists. Kevin Love led all scorers with 24 points, grabbing 15 boards along the way.
Ginobili was going for a reach in to the ball when he fractured his fifth metacarpal, according to initial x-ray results. As of this writing, there is no timeline for the all-star guard’s return in the starting line-up of the team already concerned with the aging of their star players. Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson each had 16 to top all scorers for the Spurs, while all the five starters of Minnesotta were in double digit scores.
The Spurs have anchored their offensive runs around Ginobili’s slick passing and slashing into the paint since halfway through the season last year. With him gone, guarding duties will be heavily taken over by Tony Parker. Coach Gregg Popovich, who just recently notched his 800th win as a coach, will need to reformulate his strategies if they would like to keep up with the changing times in the league, where new and fresher teams have been dominating, knocking over the old-time contenders off the charts one by one.
The Spurs are just a game ahead of Minnesotta at 3-2, while the Wolves at 2-3, have taken over Dallas by half a game in the standings. Both San Antonio and Minnesotta will have one day off in the playing schedule after their recent match-up.
In the words of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, there’s a new sheriff.
Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Chicago Bulls past the San Antonio Spurs, 109-99 in the first of two final games of the season just before All-Star break at LA(the Dallas-Phoenix game continues to ensue as of this writing).
The Bulls avenged a defeat handed them by San Antonio last November 17, a 103-94 loss that did not include a healthy Carlos Boozer on the roster. This time, Boozer gave a 15-point contribution to the cause, the only other double-digit scorer aside from Rose and Luol Deng. From the side of the Spurs, Tony Parker scored 26 and Manu Ginobili with 16. The Spurs, despite the high scoring output of most of their players, were sorely out-rebounded by Chicago, 41-29. The Bulls were also more accurate with their field goals and free throws compared to the Spurs, who will close out their annual Rodeo Road Trip with a 6-3 win-loss card.
The win further certified Rose’s run for an MVP award, just a year after he won Rookie of the Year honors. Rose is appearing in his first All-Star game as a starter for the East, alongside Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire. Meanwhile for the Spurs, Tim Duncan and Ginobili will wear the West jerseys as reserves.
The Spurs are now 46-10, while the Bulls have a 38-16 record. The Spurs are still the only team on the 40-win mark, and are leading all teams in the league by at least 6 games.