EditorsNote: fixes “DeRozan’s” in third-to-last graf
DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 28 points in his San Antonio debut, as four of his teammates scored in double figures as the host Spurs held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-108 Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.
DeRozan, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto, scored the final four points of the game after Minnesota rallied for a 108-108 tie on Jimmy Butler’s 3-pointer in the final minute.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and a game-high 19 rebounds for the Spurs, who also received 18 points from Rudy Gay.
Butler scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 31 minutes. Jeff Teague led the Timberwolves with 27 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 20.
San Antonio led 56-52 at halftime. The Spurs held 10-point leads twice in the second quarter before Butler keyed a 10-2 run.
Butler, who was away from the team for much of the preseason after requesting a trade, was in the starting lineup against the Spurs. He converted a three-point play to narrow the deficit to 44-37 and finished the first half with 12 points. Wiggins led all players with 16 first-half points.
The Spurs, taking the court for the first time in years without Manu Ginobili (retired), Tony Parker (signed with Charlotte), Leonard and Danny Green (both traded to Toronto), featured Aldridge, who posted 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. DeRozan added 11 first-half points.
Minnesota took its first lead at 64-63 on Teague’s free throw with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter. DeRozan’s 3-pointer made it 73-73, but the Timberwolves regrouped and shot 55 percent in the quarter to retake the lead at 83-81 at the end of three.
The Timberwolves led by as much as four before San Antonio regained control. The Spurs tied it at 90-90 on Gay’s jumper and took a 93-90 lead on Davis Bertans’ 3-pointer. DeRozan’s driving finger roll made it 102-94 with 3:35 to play.
Minnesota pulled within 104-101 on Teague’s 3-pointer, but Aldridge added two free throws and DeRozan scored on a layup to make it 108-103. Butler’s leaning 3-pointer from the corner tied the score at 108, but DeRozan answered with a jumper and added two free throws for the final margin.
Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who fouled out late in the game, was limited to eight points and nine rebounds in only 22 minutes.
—Field Level Media