MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves were sporting a franchise-record 17-game home winning streak. That didn't matter one bit to Tim Duncan and the red-hot San Antonio Spurs.
Duncan scored 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter as the Spurs raced to an early lead and held on for their fourth straight victory, a 111-99 triumph over the Timberwolves.
"This is a big game," Duncan said. "Playing Minnesota is always big for us, especially this year. I think we have a good rivalry."
Minnesota had not lost at home since a setback to Utah on January 4. Overall, it had won nine of its last 12 games, including a pair of road victories to cap a difficult five-game trip.
But the Wolves were no match for the Spurs, who have been the NBA's hottest team in 2003. Led by Duncan, they had won 25 of 30 games since January 1 and wasted no time improving that mark.
San Antonio led by nine points after one period, 17 in the second quarter and 20 in the third period.
"It was the last game of our trip, and we were coming off a back-to-back, so I was concerned with what juice we would have," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"Tonight we just didn't play very well," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We just didn't have the energy we needed to have to play against a team that's been playing great since January 1."
Minnesota got back in the game behind Troy Hudson, who scored 20 of his 30 points in the third quarter. But San Antonio scored the final eight points of the period to rebuild the advantage to 78-66 and led by double digits thereafter.
Stephen Jackson scored 22 points and Tony Parker and rookie Emmanuel Ginobili added 17 apiece for the Spurs, who had six players in double figures, shot 51 percent (42-of-82) from the field and held a 42-32 rebounding edge. Duncan swept 14 boards.
"We played a great team game," Duncan said. "They played some zone that gave us trouble in the second half, but other than that we played well. It was a great effort across the board."
Minnesota's Kevin Garnett had 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists but was kept relatively quiet by Malik Rose. Despite their recent hot streak, the Wolves have lost four of their last six games.
"Malik Rose really worked hard," Popovich said. "He made KG work hard for everything he got. Obviously you can't stop a guy like Kevin, who is such a good player. But tonight Malik did a great job."
"We did a good job defensively as a team on him," Duncan said. "Malik did a great job. We stayed in front of him all night."
Parker's layup capped an 8-0 burst that gave the Spurs a 22-11 lead with 2:17 left in th first quarter. Although busy with Garnett, Rose had a couple of hoops to complete a 12-1 surge that made it 41-24 midway through the second period.
Two free throws by Duncan gave San Antonio its largest lead at 58-38 with 9:09 to play in the third quarter before Hudson caught fire. He scored 18 points in a 22-6 surge, including four 3-pointers. He hit consecutive shots from the arc to make it 70-66 with 2:04 left and force the Spurs to call timeout.
"We were down by so much, the energy was kind of low, so I just wanted to try and create some energy," Hudson said. "We were down by 20 at that point, so it didn't matter what I did."
"We were trying to call something, but he was shooting them before we could call the plays," Saunders said. "When we called the plays, that's when he missed the shots."
The Spurs regrouped nicely, finishing the quarter with a flourish. Jackson dunked, Parker had a layup, Rose made a steal and free throw and Jackson drilled a 3-pointer. Rose had 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Speedy Claxton scored 13 points for the Spurs.
Rasho Nesterovic scored 14 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 12 for the Wolves, who shot just under 51 percent (41-of-81).