The Timberwolves were outscored by 22 points in the 18 minutes Rudy Gobert wasn’t on the floor Wednesday against the Spurs.
Minnesota won 102-94 at Target Center.
Because the Wolves won the center’s minutes by 30 points. Gobert dominated on both ends of the floor en route to 16 points and 21 rebounds — on 7-for-8 shooting — to lead Minnesota to its fifth straight win.
On the other end, Spurs center Zach Collins mysteriously attempted to go at Gobert time and time again, to no avail. The role player went 6 for 20 from the field. Not that Collins’ teammates fared much better. The Spurs (3-17) — who dropped their 15th straight game Wednesday — shot just 37 percent from the field and 19 percent from deep.
That’s the Gobert effect. San Antonio led by seven at the break, but that came as Gobert was stuck to the pine with three fouls. He dominated the second half of play, allowing Minnesota to quickly gain control in the third.
The Wolves (16-4) build their advantage to double digits in the fourth.
Gobert exited the contest to a standing ovation.
Mike Conley added 18 points with four 3-pointers, and Naz Reid had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Anthony Edwards returned after missing the previous two games with a hip pointer but didn’t appear to be close to his traditionally explosive self. He was seen grabbing at the hip multiple times.
He did hit a couple key triples in the second half and provided one Ant-like burst for the nationally televised audience, delivering a thunderous put-back dunk with three minutes to play, perhaps a sign that his body loosened up as the night wore on.
Edwards finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes.
Apple Valley’s Tre Jones a valuable floor general for San Antonio, even while coming off the bench
Perhaps some NBA title contenders can coast to the playoffs. Timberwolves know they’re not one of them.
Timberwolves’ clutch-time offense is vastly improved this season. You can thank Mike Conley for that
Timberwolves find way to hold off Charlotte
Conley’s Corner: Timberwolves guard is the ultimate sportsman