The Raptors 13-game slide mercifully came to an end on Friday, but it was anything but assured as they nursed a slim lead against the Timberwolves throughout the fourth quarter.
Minnesota appeared to gain a little life after Sebastian Telfair knocked down a three with 02:59 to play to cut Toronto's lead to 103-99. But in a game where the Raptors truly received a total team effort, four Toronto players scored during an 8-1 run the rest of the way and the streak is over.
Jose Calderon had to log a lot of minutes with both Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa sidelined and the veteran delivered an impressive performance that fueled one of the Raptors best efforts of the season in terms of sharing the ball.
Calderon scored six points, but matched a career-high and franchise record by dishing out 19 assists and adding three steals. With the Raps struggling offensively during this slide, he brought out some of the best performances we've seen from some of his teammates in a while and led them to their highest scoring effort since Jan. 9.
Amir Johnson continued his recent hot streak with a brilliant performance against the Wolves on Friday with 19 points on eight-for-10 shooting from the floor, a team-high 12 rebounds, a career-high six assists, three steals and two blocks.
"I thought Amir was unbelievable, even six assists for him," said head coach Jay Triano. "His line is almost perfect basketball for a power forward. The number of deflections and steals, he was great."
"It feels good. Our focus has been not on what has happened in the past, it’s been on the game at hand. I read all the stuff that different people say and talk about our guys being down a lot, but I’d rather have them down when they’re losing than be joking around. These guys care and they work hard in practice and like I’ve been saying all along, I want to get a win for all the hard work they have done and hopefully they feel good about tonight."
- Jay Triano, on ending the losing streak
Tues., Feb. 8 @ Milwaukee
7:00 PM ET, TSN, FAN590
The Raptors now get a rare three-day break to rest and prepare for their road date with the Bucks on Tuesday. Toronto dropped a 116-110 overtime hearbeaker to the Bucks at ACC back on Jan. 28, with Maggette scoring 29 points to lead six Milwaukee players in double figures.
|35||Assists on 46 made field goals for the Raptors|
|6||Games with at least 30 points for Andrea Bargnani this season|
|10||Double doubles on the season for Amir Johnson|
|10||Career-high in points for Trey Johnson|
|50-38||Points in the paint favouring the Raptors|
|"Everybody pinched in and had their hand in the pot today. We played hard and that is what we have to do every game."|
- Amir Johnson on the total team effort
|"Our defense was abysmal the entire ball game. We didn’t shut down anybody from their entire starting unit. "|
- Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis on his team's defence
|"We moved the ball. We moved the ball extremely well and we took care of the ball at the same time. When we play like that we are tough to beat."|
- DeMar DeRozan, on the ball movement