Vassell, Wembanyama key rally as Spurs overcome Edwards’ big game to edge Timberwolves, 113-112

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, left, is fouled as he goes to the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) (Darren Abate, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – A wild night in San Antonio got even wilder as the Spurs upended the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Devin Vassell had 25 points, Victor Wembanyama added 23 points and 10 rebounds and San Antonio rallied to beat Minnesota 113-112 on Saturday night in a game delayed five minutes by a bat buzzing the court.

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Anthony Edwards had 32 points and 12 rebounds as Minnesota had a two-game winning streak snapped.

“They wanted it more,” Edwards said. “They got every loose ball. They got the loose ball that determined the game at the end. They just wanted it a lot more than we did.”

Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns had 19 points each. Towns missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Minnesota (32-14) entered the game with a share of the Western Conference lead. San Antonio still has the West’s worst record even after two straight wins.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called it the “The best win we’ve had” this season. It certainly was the strangest.

Officials halted play two minutes into the game when a bat descended on the court seconds after Wembanyama made a 3-pointer.

The Spurs’ mascot, The Coyote, captured the bat with a net after numerous failed attempts, much to the delight of Wembanyama and Jeremy Sochan. The Coyote had previously corralled two bats, and Manu Ginobili swatted another to the court with his bare hand in November 2009.

The Spurs scattered each time the bat buzzed the court, except for Jeremy Sochan, who Popovich had to pull back at one point. Others hid, like Keldon Johnson.

“I know my lane,” Johnson said. “Like, I’m borderline scared of the dark … so, the bat? That’s something like, nah that ain’t really up my alley. I was more scared. ”

Wembanyama’s 3-pointer gave San Antonio a 112-107 lead with two minutes remaining, but he missed two free throws with the Spurs up 112-110. Johnson hit one of two free throws to put San Antonio up 113-112 to set up Town’s final shot.

Johnson finished with 14 points for the Spurs.

Doug McDermott’s 3-pointer put San Antonio up 93-92 with 8:40 remaining for their first lead since the opening minutes.

The Spurs finished 13 for 30 on 3-pointers and had 35 assists on 46 baskets.

“They play fast,” Edwards said. “Tre Jones pushed the tempo every single time he touches the ball. So, that’s great for them.”

San Antonio outscored Minnesota 33-22 in the fourth quarter. Sochan and Vassell had seven points each in the fourth quarter and Wembanyama had three.

Sochan finished with 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Sochan has scored 44 points in his last two games after being held to two points in a 140-114 loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

“I tell him I’m so proud of him because I feel like it has been an up and down year for him,” Johnson said. “Just to see him flourish, there’s nothing that makes me happier to see after all adversity. He’s persevering and shining and to see the smile and the energy that he’s bringing to the team, it’s really contagious. It makes me smile, man.”


Timberwolves: At Oklahoma City on Monday night.

Spurs: Host Washington on Monday night.



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