SAN ANTONIO (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves with impressed with Victor Wembanyama, which made their victory that much more satisfying.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and the Timberwolves overcame 29 points from the rookie sensation to hold off the San Antonio Spurs 117-110 on Friday night in their In-Season Tournament opener.

Anthony Edwards added 28 points and Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota won its fifth straight.

Wembanyama was 12 for 21 from the field and 3 for 7 on 3-pointers. The No. 1 pick, who was coming off a difficult debut at Madison Square Garden in a loss to New York on Wednesday, added nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.

“Defensively, I think our guys were a little too aware of him,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “That’s one thing we talked about at halftime. Just go, run our offense. Just be normal. I think guys were just considering him a little too much. If he blocks a shot, he blocks a shot, but we can’t stop being aggressive.”

Gobert, a fellow 7-footer from France, noted the 19-year-old's growth on the court and with his physique since playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“I thought he had a good game,” Gobert said. “He hit some tough shots. I tried to make him work. I tried to make him hit some tough ones, and he did, especially at the end. I was pretty impressed.”

Wembanyama's 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining cut the Timberwolves' lead to 115-110.

Devin Vassell added a career-high 29 points for San Antonio.

Minnesota had notable victories over Boston and Denver but had not won on the road this season.

San Antonio has lost four straight, dropping its previous two by an average of 31 points to Indiana and the Knicks.

In danger of another blowout loss, the Spurs opened the final quarter shooting 9 for 12 from the field and 3 for 5 on 3-pointers to close within 104-97 with three minutes remaining.

“I was proud of them,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought they did a good job tonight. (Minnesota is) a talented team, a very experienced team. A team that has designs on wanting to win a championship. I think our young guys played their butts off. It was a totally different game than Indiana or New York.”

Edwards and Towns combined to score the Timberwolves’ next seven points, including five straight free throws by Edwards to seal the victory.

“They are never going to go away,” Finch said. “They are so well-drilled. The game was turning against us, the crowd turned against us and some calls. We just managed to find a way to make enough plays to stave them off.”

Minnesota built an 18-point lead in the third quarter after a sluggish start.

The Wolves were 9 for 15 on 3-pointers in the second and third quarters while outscoring the Spurs 68-46. Minnesota outscored San Antonio 34-19 in the third, sparked by a 19-5 run.

The Spurs limited the Wolves to 22 points in the first quarter after allowing 44 and 33 in the opening period of their previous games.

Vassell returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a strained left groin and coming off the bench in his return Wednesday at New York.

San Antonio and Minnesota are in West Group C along with Golden State, Sacramento, and Oklahoma City for the inaugural tournament. The games count toward regular-season records except for the tournament final, set for Las Vegas in December.

“I think the fans are the ones that are more excited than we are,” Popovich said. “It gives them a lot of things to talk about. It’s kind of a portent of maybe who’s going to be there at the end of the year, and they can talk about that. I think it will be a heightened competitive environment amongst the players for sure.”


Timberwolves: At Golden State on Sunday.

Spurs: Host Miami on Sunday.

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