As deftly as Gregg Popovich has managed the minutes of his players in the compressed, 66-game post-lockout schedule — only Tony Parker and Tim Duncan average as many as 28 minutes per game — the Spurs coach is mindful of the grind that awaits his team in the final six weeks.

Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves at the AT&T Center will begin a stretch of six games in eight nights, including the final three on the road.

Awaiting in mid-April: Eight games in 11 days.

Thus, the three-day break in the schedule that arrived after Saturday's loss in Dallas was welcomed by everyone, especially Parker, the only Spurs player averaging more than 30 minutes (34.5).