Tim Duncan had a double double performance as he the San Antonio Spurs in an easy 116-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With Tony Parker hurt, Gary Neal rose to the challenge and gave the Spurs a lift off the bench.
Duncan finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block shot in just 24 minutes of action playing inspired basketball with Stephen Jackson back in the fold.
However, all is not good news in San Antonio.
Tony Parker left with a left hamstring strain with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter. He spoke briefly with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich before heading to the locker room with two points and six assists.
“I think they said mild hamstring, so we won’t know much until tomorrow,” Popovich said. “Not good timing.”
Jackson, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal stepped up with Parker going out early. The trio scored 16 points each for the Spurs who improved their record to 30-14.
“Things are going to be difficult for a minute until we figure it out without Tony,” Jackson said. “He’s the head to our monster, but at the same time, we’re in a good position when we have Ginobili being able to play point, be able to move the ball. We just have to figure it out. Gary and Ginobili did a great job of picking up the slack.”
Kevin Love had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his league-leading 40th double-double, but Minnesota (23-25) lost for the fourth time in six games to fall further behind in the Western Conference playoff race.
With Parker out, Neal is the primary backup point guard.
“Gary did a great job (at point guard) for a 2-guard,” Popovich said. “He’s not a 1, but he kind of likes it for some strange reason. So we’re happy he can do what he does at that position. Manu does a little bit, so the two of them share it.”
Duncan, though, made sure there was no series sweep.
“Tim’s been really fresh all year long,” Popovich said. “I’m really enthused about his health, his body, the way he’s been taking care of himself. He’s got quickness and he’s got more agility than he’s had in a while. He’s had it for the whole season. It’s been fun to watch.”
The Timberwolves were playing without starting center Nikola Pekovic, their second-leading scorer and rebounder. The second-year big man went back to Minnesota before the game to have his sore left ankle examined.
Danny Green had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who out-rebounded the Timberwolves 56-41.
San Antonio had 17 offensive rebounds.
J.J. Barea added 18 points and 11 assists for the Timberwolves, and Anthony Tolliver scored 16 points.
With Pekovic out, Minnesota went with a smaller lineup, starting Love at center.
Matt Bonner missed the game with back spasms. “He just came up tight yesterday in practice,” Popovich said. “I don’t think it’s anything real serious, but we don’t want to take any chances with him.”
The Spurs retired Bruce Bowen’s No. 12 after the game. Bowen was on the NBA’s All-Defensive team eight times and started on the Spurs’ championship teams in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
San Antonio will face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at the AT&T Center.