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01/13/2013 11:34 PM EST
Parker leads Spurs past Timberwolves, 106-88
SAN ANTONIO 106, MINNESOTA 88

By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Despite getting ejected for heatedly arguing
a foul and seeing Manu Ginobili strain a hamstring, San Antonio
coach Gregg Popovich couldn't suppress a few smiles after the
Spurs' latest home win.



Tony Parker scored 20 points and Tim Duncan had 14 points, nine
rebounds and seven blocks to lead San Antonio in a 106-88
victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night,
extending the Spurs' home winning streak to 12 games.



Duncan's season-high in blocks helped the Spurs outscore the
Timberwolves 54-34 in the paint and San Antonio finished with a
43-28 edge in rebounding.



"I don't think that's a huge surprise," Popovich said, smiling,
when told of Duncan's blocks. "It's kind of neat that it was
seven, but I mean, he does that every night. He tries to do the
best he can guarding, blocking shots, protecting the rim for
us."



Gary Neal scored 15 points, including 3-for-3 shooting on
3-pointers to help San Antonio beat Minnesota at home for the
16th straight time. Tiago Splitter had 10 points and Ginobili
scored 12 in the first half before leaving with a strained left
hamstring.



Duncan had five blocks in the first quarter to help offset a
sluggish start as San Antonio captured a 24-21 lead.



"I don't know, they just kept coming at me," Duncan said. "I'm
just trying to bring some energy back and get our rhythm back.
I've been in a slump lately and I'm trying to fight my way out
of it."



The Spurs started 3 for 9 from the field with two turnovers in
falling behind 16-7. Following a timeout, San Antonio went on a
13-1 run as Minnesota missed 11 shots in a 5-minute drought.



The Timberwolves ended the skid on two free throws by Ricky
Rubio, despite replays showing Boris Diaw had a clean block with
no body contact on the play.



Ginobili, who had six points in the run, did not return after
straining his left hamstring in the final minute of the first
half. He also had five assists in 12:29.



Popovich said the Spurs will not know Ginobili's status until
Monday.



J.J. Barea scored 15 points, Nikola Pekovic had 14 and Luke
Ridnour 13 for the Timberwolves.



Minnesota was without head coach Rick Adelman, who missed his
second straight game to be with his wife, Mary Kay, who is
hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.



The Spurs attacked the basket to open the second half as Kawhi
Leonard had a dunk and dropped in a floater, and Duncan and
Parker had layups in an 11-0 run.



Dante Cunningham then led an 8-0 run that pulled Minnesota to
66-62.



Neal scored eight points in the opening 3 minutes of the final
quarter to extend San Antonio's lead to 88-75.



"We were right there going into the fourth," Ridnour said. "On
the road, that's where you want to be - within striking
distance. We just went rough a little lull and Neal got hot
there."



Popovich was ejected with 7:22 remaining in the game following a
double technical for arguing a foul called against Splitter on
Barea. The ejection sparked an 11-0 run for the Spurs, including
a dunk and two reverse layups by Splitter.



The ejection didn't seem to linger with Popovich. When asked
about the play of Patty Mills, who was 2 for 8 in scoring five
points, the Spurs coach couldn't help but smile.



"He was on fire," Popovich said, biting his lip and shaking his
head in a futile attempt not to smile. "Patty is always an
energetic guy; he does a great job busting his butt. He just
couldn't find the rim tonight, well, he found the rim; he
couldn't find the net."



Popovich was able to limit his starter's minutes early in the
second quarter, to the point Duncan playfully walked to the
scorer's table to check in. Popovich grabbed him by the front of
his warm-up shirt and walked the former MVP back to the bench.
The frivolity lasted less than a minute, as Duncan re-entered
the game after back-to-back steals by Minnesota cut San
Antonio's lead to 35-32.



NOTES: The Spurs are 16-2 at home, for the league's best winning
percentage at .889. Their victory total is tied for third with
Miami (16-3) behind Oklahoma City (18-3) and the Los Angeles
Clippers (18-4). ... Minnesota F Kevin Love (fractured hand), G
Brandon Roy (knee), G Chase Budinger (knee) and Malcolm Lee
(knee) did not play. ... San Antonio has had 12 different
starters this season, the most of any NBA team. Ginobili is the
only active player on the Spurs roster who has not started a
game this season. Cory Joseph and James Anderson have not
started, but both have primarily played in the D-Leaague this
season. ... Ridnour, Cunningham and Alexey Shved have played
every game for the Timberwolves this season. ... The Spurs'
longest home winning streak is 22 games, which they set from
Dec. 3, 2010 to March 4, 2011.

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