The Spurs survived a late Timberwolves rally during a 107-98 win in San Antonio. The Spurs got out to a 19-point lead in the third quarter before the Wolves got within three points early in the fourth. San Antonio pulled away in the end behind 25 points from Keldon Johnson and 23 from Doug McDermott. The Spurs have won five of their last six games. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 26 points in the losing effort. The loss snaps the Wolves two-game winning streak.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich
(On getting the win shorthanded…)
"I’m just going to keep repeating it. They’re young enough they don’t know any better. The just keep playing hard. They enjoy playing with each other, and they’re pretty much obeying the basketball gods doing all the simple things that help win games. That’s the juice, it’s the competitiveness. That part, I think they’ve got that down. We won a couple of games where we haven’t turned it over. That’s our problem in the past. If we get to the point where we’re giving up 22, 24 points off turnovers, then it’s difficult to win. We took care of the ball pretty good, but I just think they’re overall effort was fantastic with so many guys out. The young kids, Blake [Wesley] and Malaki [Branham], I don’t think they even know what the capital of Texas is, but I don’t care. They just went and played and filled in. Romeo [Langford] has been fantastic. The guys that have been here like Keldon [Johnson] and Jakob [Poeltl] and Tre [Jones], they’re great young leaders the way they play. It’s great for everyone else to follow their example.”
(On Romeo Langford’s defensive activity…)
"He might be our best on-ball defender. He just might be. He’s got quick feet, he’s got long arms, he anticipated really well. He did a fine job. [Anthony] Edwards, he almost got away from us there for a while, and we ended up doing a pretty good job on him down the stretch. He and Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re special talents, and I think our aggressiveness got us through.”
Spurs Forward Doug McDermott
(On patching a win together…)
“It says a lot about the leadership that we have on this team, starting with Pop and just the vets that we have on this team. Everyone is so unselfish on this team; it’s off the court, and I think it carries to on the court. You’re seeing that with the way we’re playing out there. It doesn’t matter who’s on the floor. It’s who wants it the most, and we’re continuing to play Spurs basketball. It’s been a blast to be a part of.”
(On Romeo Langford tonight…)
“He’s an unbelievable defender. He’s a very unselfish guy on the other end on offense, and I think his confidence is just growing each day. He’s becoming more professional. He held Anthony Edwards to 0 points in the first half, which not a lot of people can do. Super happy for Romeo, super happy for our young rookies that stepped up tonight. Just a heck of a win.”
(On moving the ball…)
“For sure. We just go out there and we play. We’re not really worried who’s going to get the shot, who’s going to score. It’s a team and it’s a together team. It’s just contagious when you have a great culture, and it carries onto the floor. As a 30-year-old whose been on like six or seven teams, I haven’t had this much fun playing basketball. It’s been a joy to be a part of.”
Spurs Forward Keldon Johnson
(On being shorthanded tonight …)
"Every NBA game is tough. I feel like us not having guys is like, you know, the next man has to step up. We're a team, we're a family, we have full confidence in the next person in the line up. Unfortunately, Devin got hurt, Jeremy was sick, and you know, we were down a couple of guys. We bumped some bruises, but we kept fighting; we kept playing as a team. It's hard, but I feel like when you can look to the left and look to the right, you see your brothers, the people you grind with all summer, in the gym working constantly, making it fun. I had an amazing time tonight and I've had an amazing time all season. I feel like we're playing great team basketball; we just make each other better. It's fun playing basketball that way."
(On being a team leader …)
"I just try to be a leader. We have an amazing point guard in Tre Jones. He definitely runs the show [and] he gets everyone in their spot. I feel like to say solely that I'm the head of the snake would be a disservice to my teammates because we have so many great players. Like Tre, you know, he gets everybody vocal, we got Devin, he's not out there, but it feels like he is out there. He is talking to us the whole game, telling us what he sees, being an extra set of eyes for us. We have so many players like that. It helps out a lot. To say solely that it's me, you know, I do my part and talk to my teammates when we need talking to. We have so many leaders in so many leaders in so many different scenarios."
(On team readiness …)
"I would say everyone is different on the team. Everybody brings different style. When we're missing something you know someone else is going to bring unique to the team. That's the main thing, everybody is ready. Even when we have a full team I feel like everybody is ready and everybody's locked in. Everybody's cheering and they're tuning into the game because they know at any moment, you know, where there's foul trouble or injury that it could be their time. I told everybody before the game, I walked up to each person, and was like 'just be yourself, you know, we trust you, we trust that you're going to play the right way, we believe in you always.' I just want to let them know that so they know there is no pressure to perform, you know, because we believe in each other. I feel like there is no pressure when I know my teammates are going to put me in the right position to be successful. It's only right if I pass that down to the younger guys, to the rookies, to everybody else on the team, and let them know that, you know, just like they believe in me I believe in them. I know they're going to hit the shot, I know they're going to play great defense and make the right plays. Everybody on the team believes in each other. It's big to have that foundation; knowing that my teammates are believing in me, they trust me, and vice versa with whatever shot that they may take."