National Basketball Association
Preview
Minnesota at San Antonio
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

The San Antonio Spurs expect be without star swingman Kawhi Leonard when they open the regular season at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Leonard, coming off a second straight All-Star campaign in which he averaged a career-high 25.1 points, missed training camp and preseason with a quadriceps injury.

Leonard also sat out much of the Spurs' loss to Golden State in the Western Conference Finals in May, which ended San Antonio's NBA-record 20th consecutive winning season. The Timberwolves have a long way to go before they can consider themselves even close to that level as a franchise, having suffered through the longest playoff drought in the NBA at 13 years, but they seem to be trending in the right direction. "We know the opportunity that we have ahead of us if we do the right things, if we guard, we share the ball, if we rebound, don't turn the ball over, all the things that (coach Tom Thibodeau) says to do," said guard Jimmy Butler, the team's prize import this offseason. "And we know that we can win, we have the potential to do that, but we've got to go out there and do it." Butler will play a big role alongside talented big man Karl-Anthony Towns (25.1 points per game, 12.3 rebounds per game last season) and emerging star Andrew Wiggins (23.6 ppg).

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS North (Minnesota), KENS 5 (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (2016-17: 31-51): While the acquisition of Butler received all the headlines, veteran Jeff Teague offers a durable, consistent option at point guard, a spot that opened up when the oft-injured Ricky Rubio moved on. Teague averaged nearly 79 games over the past five seasons while averaging more than 15 points in each of the last four and finishing seventh in the league in assists (7.8) with Indiana in 2016-17. The Timberwolves will need to figure out how to share the scoring load, as Towns, Wiggins and Butler (23.9 ppg with Chicago) give the team three of the NBA's top 16 scorers a season ago.

ABOUT THE SPURS (2016-17: 61-21): The signing of forward Rudy Gay should help San Antonio deal with Leonard's absence, as will veteran guard Patty Mills - who tied with Leonard for the team lead with 147 3-pointers. Gay was limited to 30 games last season with Sacramento due to an Achilles issue but figures to lead the second unit for the Spurs and gave his new team a glimpse of things to come by averaging nearly 13 points in 22 minutes over the last three preseason games. Point guard Tony Parker and center Pau Gasol return for their 17th seasons while reserve guard Manu Ginobili will play his 16th - all in a San Antonio uniform.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. San Antonio won 11 straight meetings.

2. Towns shot 54.2 percent from the field in each of his first two seasons.

3. The Spurs on Tuesday announced a three-year, $72.3 million extension with F LaMarcus Aldridge, who averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.

PREDICTION: Spurs 108, Timberwolves 106
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Minnesota 0-0 L1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
San Antonio 0-0 W1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Minnesota San Antonio
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/21/17 SA 100 MIN 93 93 39 44.4 100 33 48.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 25 47.1 8
San Antonio L. Aldridge 26 50.0 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 15 6 9
San Antonio P. Gasol 7 0 7
Assists Player  
Minnesota R. Rubio 7
San Antonio T. Parker 5
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota N/A
San Antonio N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota N/A
San Antonio N/A
Assists Player  
Minnesota N/A
San Antonio N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  San Antonio San Antonio Defense
Minnesota Off vs San Antonio - Points For 0.0 Points For
Minnesota Off vs San Antonio - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 0.0 FG%
San Antonio - FG% 0.0 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 0.0 Reb
San Antonio - Reb 0.0 Reb
San Antonio San Antonio Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
San Antonio Off vs Minnesota - Points For 0.0 Points For
San Antonio Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
San Antonio - FG% 0.0 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 0.0 FG%
San Antonio - Reb 0.0 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 0.0 Reb