MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't ventured inside much against San Antonio's Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
The Spurs' Derek Anderson thinks he knows why.
"I never dunked on either of them, and I try to dunk on everybody," said Anderson, who played last season for the Los Angeles Clippers. "I don't think I ever tried because I knew when I got there, I wouldn't see anything.
"I know what guys go through when they go in there. I can see their pain."
Anderson's sympathy isn't worth much for the Wolves, who are down 2-0 and facing elimination Saturday.
The Timberwolves also have experienced the frustration of trying to deal with the two big men. They have Kevin Garnett to match up with one, but find themselves in a mismatch with the other.
The Wolves are starting their best defensive option, Dean Garrett, which means fewer minutes for two offensive players, LaPhonso Ellis and Reggie Slater. Garrett scored only one point in 14 minutes of Game 2.
The Wolves' four-man center rotation, which includes third-year player Rasho Nesterovic, hasn't been as successful against the Spurs that it was at times this season.
Against most teams, the Wolves can let Garnett take on one big man and select the player who is best suited to exploit the other. Some games, that's Ellis taking 3-pointers or grabbing offensive rebounds. Others, it's the 255-pound Slater backing his way to the basket.
There is little to exploit against Duncan and Robinson, and the Wolves would be giving up four to six inches by letting the 6-8 Ellis or the 6-7 Slater defend either of them. Nesterovic, whose confidence appears shaken, began the season as a starter, but has played little during the second half of the season.
The Wolves have been starting out with the 6-11 Garrett, who averaged just 12 minutes and 2.5 points during the regular season. Most of Ellis' 31 minutes in Game 2 came after the game was decided, and many were at forward. Slater has played only 14 minutes in the two games.
"Late in the season, you're trying to win games to get into the playoffs," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. "One of the guys who gave us the best opportunity to do that was Reggie. We thought our best opportunity against San Antonio was with Dean-o."
Garrett started out against Robinson, who had 11 points and nine rebounds in Game 1. After Duncan scored 33 points in the playoff opener, the Wolves used Garrett in double-teams against him in Game 2. Duncan missed his first four shots of that game, but finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Garrett also scored 10 points in Game 1, but missed two jump shots in the last two minutes.
"We just have to be a little better inside," Saunders said. "We have to find a way to score inside."
Easier said than done.
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