Notebook: Raptors 95, Timberwolves 93



Posted Apr 5, 2013 11:39 PM

Jim Beilby, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Toronto Raptors got a rare road win and in so doing denied Rick Adelman his 1,000th victory, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-93 on Friday night. Toronto has struggled of late, losing seven of their last nine games. And they have struggled on the road the whole season. They are 10-27 away from home this season and only 2-12 against Western conference foes. But Friday, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan took advantage of their size advantage over Minnesota's defenders and put the team on their backs and carried them to victory. Gay scored 10 of his 26 points in the final quarter, including a pair of key baskets with less than two minutes in the game to maintain a slim lead. And DeRozan scored 25, and many of those baskets came at key moments.

Nikola Pekovic continued his strong play for Minnesota, getting to the line 16 times, and leading Minnesota with 24 points. He has now led Minnesota in scoring in the last five games. Minnesota went on a 13-0 run early in the third quarter to build the first double digit lead of the game. But a flurry of turnovers stopped that run as fast as it started and helped Toronto get back in the game. In the fourth quarter, it was poor defense and missed free throws that killed Minnesota's chances. As a team, Minnesota got to the line 40 times, but it missed 10 of those shots. Three of those misses came in crunch time, as Minnesota was 3-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes.

QUOTABLE: "We missed some big [free throws] down the stretch in the fourth quarter there, but that's the way it is. ... Like I said, I thought we could have controlled our destiny if we would have taken care of the job in the third quarter."
-- Rick Adelman

THE STAT: In a closely contested game with pretty similar numbers across the board, the one place where Toronto built a clear advantage was on the offensive rebounds, building a 11-7 advantage and converting that to a 18-9 advantage on second chance points. Toronto also had a lot more fouls, but too often Minnesota did not capitalize by making their free throws.

TURNING POINT: Leading 94-92 with 24.3 seconds to play, Toronto had the ball and a chance to put the game out of reach. Gay missed a turn-around jumpshot and Dante Cunningham got the rebound and gave it to Ricky Rubio, who was fouled with 1.7 seconds to play and had two free throws to tie the game. He made one, but missed the second. Toronto's Amir Johnson grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.1 seconds on the clock, sealing Minnesota's fate.

QUOTABLE II: "We need to stay consistent. I think we had a great run and had an 11-point lead and then we stopped. We started thinking we had the game in our hands and they just punished us right away for our lack of focus."
-- Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko

HOT: DeRozan started out the first and third quarters with Luke Ridnour on him. He saw the size advantage and took advantage of it, getting many open looks of turn-around jumpers.

NOT: J.J. Barea could not get anything going in this game. He only played 14:34 and was 0-for-5 and was utterly ineffective at triggering the Minnesota offense.

NOTABLE: Adelman continues to be one win shy of his 1,000th NBA coaching win, a plateau reached previously by only seven others .. Only four of those seven took fewer games than Adelman to reach this milestone .. His first win was for Portland more than 24 years ago (at Miami, 124-102, on February 26, 1989) .. The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Friday that Kevin Love has not been cleared to practice and that he will be reevaluated next week, making it most likely that Love will not play this season .. Toronto has now won 16 of the last 17 games against Minnesota .. Friday was Dwane Casey's first trip back to Minnesota as head coach of the Raptors. He was the head coach at Minnesota from 2005-2007 and had Minnesota in playoff contention with a 20-20 record when he was replaced on January 25, 2007 .. In the six seasons since Casey's coaching tenure, the Timberwolves have not got close to finishing a season with a .500 record .. Their best record came in the strike shortened 2011-2012 season (26-40, .394) and they have had four seasons below .300 (2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011).

UP NEXT: For the Wolves, Saturday vs. Detroit, Tuesday at Golden State, Wednesday at L.A. Clippers. For the Raptors, Saturday at Milwaukee, Tuesday at Chicago, Friday vs. Chicago.