Published April 17, 2013
| Sports Network
The San Antonio Spurs are locked into the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but they will finish out the regular season Wednesday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Spurs lost out on the race for the top spot to the Oklahoma City Thunder and they are not heading into the postseason on a positive note. San Antonio has lost two straight, three of four and six of nine.
But this is a veteran group that is playoff-tested. As a veteran group, head coach Gregg Popovich rested some of his regulars on Monday night when the Spurs fell to the Golden State Warriors, 116-106 in Oakland.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard all sat out and Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw are still sidelined with long-term injuries.
Against the Warriors, Gary Neal led the way with 25 points and Patty Mills wasn't far behind with 23. Matt Bonner, DeJuan Blair and Corey Joseph also scored in double figures.
The Spurs couldn't handle Steph Curry on Monday. The Golden State guard went off for 35 points thanks to 7-for-15 shooting from long range.
"It's actually fun to watch," Popovich said of Curry's performance. "Everybody hates losing, but I enjoyed...watching a talented kid perform the way he did, and he does it with class."
The Spurs made one more move to try and bolster the postseason roster. The team signed Tracy McGrady on Tuesday after the former two-time first-team All NBA wing played this season in China. McGrady can provide scoring if Ginobili and Diaw aren't ready later in the postseason.
The Timberwolves are playing out the string and have dropped four of their last five. They've lost three in a row on the road.
On Monday, Minnesota lost at home to the Utah Jazz, 96-80. The Jazz are fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but that should not excuse the performance from the Timberwolves.
"I know it's tough," Rubio said. "Especially at the end of the season when the other team is fighting for playoff and we're not. You have to show you want to win every game."
Derrick Williams was the only starter in double figures on Monday with 18 points. Dante Cunningham added 12 points and J.J. Barea chipped in 11 off the bench.
The four other starters besides Williams - Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma and Luke Ridnour - combined for 25 points.
The Spurs are 19-3 in their last 22 against the T'Wolves and have won 16 in a row at home. The last time the Wolves beat the Spurs in San Antonio was Jan. 14, 2004. But, the Timberwolves topped San Antonio the last time the two squads met back on Mar. 12 in Minnesota.