DeMar DeRozan had 28 points in his San Antonio debut, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and 19 rebounds and the Spurs overcame a 23-point performance by Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler in a 112-108 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams coming off a tumultuous offseason.
DeRozan was acquired from Toronto after the Spurs responded to Kawhi Leonard’s trade demands by dealing their star forward and Danny Green for the Raptors’ All-Star guard and Jakob Poeltl.
Minnesota is facing a similar trade demand from Butler, who has opted to play through it. Butler, who has told Minnesota that he will not resign with the team in the offseason, added seven rebounds and three assists in an active 31 minutes.
DeRozan banked in the eventual game-winning shot in the final minute against Butler, driving hard to the basket against the 6-foot-8 forward and then pulling up from 12 feet to give San Antonio a 110-108 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
DeRozan sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining after Minnesota’s Derrick Rose missed a runner in lane.
Jeff Teague scored 27 points and Andrew Wiggins added 20 points for the Timberwolves.
Rudy Gay had 18 points and Bryn Forbes had 11 points in his first start at point guard for the Spurs.
San Antonio led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but Minnesota went on a 12-4 run late in the second quarter to pull within 48-46 and shift the early momentum. Butler, Teague and Wiggins were the only players to score during that run.
Karl-Anthony Towns picked up his third foul with 2 minutes left in the first half and fouled out with 4:18 remaining in the game and the Spurs up 99-92. Towns finished with eight points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.