MINNEAPOLIS (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and seven rebounds to help the San Antonio Spurs bounce back from a rare loss with a 116-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points and the Spurs (54-10) led by as many as 26 points in a game they played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich. David West scored 18 points as the Spurs shot 55.3 percent and only turned the ball over nine times.
The Spurs haven’t dealt with much losing this season, and they responded to their 10th defeat of the season with a workman-like dismantling of the Timberwolves defense. Even with their three mainstays out of the lineup and their peerless coach at home tending to a family issue, they didn’t miss a beat.
“The machine is a well-oiled machine,” assistant Ettore Messina, who has filled in for Popovich the last two games, said before the game. “It goes on. You try to sit at the wheel and steer and try not to mess it up. Keep it straight.”
The Spurs shot a season-low 35 percent overall and 14 percent from 3-point range against Indiana on Monday night. They were much better against Minnesota’s young and porous defense. Aldridge got whatever he wanted, peppering the Wolves with midrange jumpers and throwing down an emphatic dunk on Towns to get the Spurs going in the second quarter.
San Antonio closed the half with a 9-0 run, then just leaned on the young Wolves in the third to break it open.
Andre Miller, who was bought out by the Timberwolves and joined the Spurs at the end of February, started for Parker (toe). Miller had 13 points and five assists in 25 minutes.
The Spurs turned the ball over just three times in the first three quarters and now head home for five straight games at AT&T Center, where they are 30-0 this season.
Messina’s name has started to come up in speculation about possible head coaching openings in the NBA, most notably with the Brooklyn Nets, who are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Messina coached Russian power CSKA Moscow, but he called the discussion just that – “speculation.”
When asked if he would be interested in pursuing a head coaching job in the league, Messina demurred.
“Look, I’m a soldier,” Messina said. “Whatever will happen in the future, the first person I will talk to is Pop and the second is R.C. And that’s it.”
Spurs: Messina called Parker’s injury a day-to-day situation. Duncan and Ginobili rested on the second night of a back-to-back. … It was Miller’s first start since Dec. 9, 2013, when he was playing with the Nuggets against Washington.
Timberwolves: PG Ricky Rubio had a rough night with two points, four rebounds, three assists and four fouls in 20 minutes. … The Wolves were outrebounded 46-35 and committed 15 turnovers.
Spurs: Host Chicago on Thursday.
Timberwolves: Visit Oklahoma City on Friday.