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Wright's Big Three-Pointer Lifts Raptors Over Wolves Late

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Related Video: Game In Six | Triano | Bosh | DeRozan | Bargnani | Wright | Jack
More Video: Bosh's Big 'And 1' | DeRozan's On The Break | DeRozan Does It Again
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December 8, 2009

TORONTO (CP) -- Shooting 32 per cent would have been disastrous for the Toronto Raptors a week ago. Thanks to another strong defensive effort, it wasn't an issue on Tuesday night.

Antoine Wright hit a critical three-pointer with just over a minute remaining as the Raptors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 94-88 for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Chris Bosh led the way with 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Raptors (10-13), who have won 11 straight meetings against the Timberwolves dating back to 2004. This one may not have been the most watchable _ the teams combined to shoot just 35 per cent from the field and go 5-for-37 from three-point range _ but Toronto head coach Jay Triano had no qualms whatsoever.

``I think it's beautiful,'' said Triano. ``I do, because I wouldn't take away any of the shots we took. It seemed like there was a lid on the basket.

``We told our guys in training camp, if you play good defence, even on nights you can't make shots or struggle making shots, you will stay in games long enough to find a way to win.''

That's just how Tuesday's game played out -- with Wright a fitting hero. After Minnesota rallied from a late six-point deficit to tie the game 84-84, Hedo Turkoglu stole an errant pass from Jonny Flynn and went in for an uncontested dunk. Toronto stopped the Timberwolves at the other end, and Wright buried a three -- Toronto's second in 21 attempts -- to send the Air Canada Crowd of 15,167 into a frenzy.

Wright had been 0-for-5 to that point in the game.

``It wasn't anything, really,'' Wright joked. ``Small shot in the game.

``We needed it. We hadn't been shooting the ball well from the field, but you have to do the things out there that you practise, and I was open and I hit the shot.''

Jarrett Jack had 17 points, Turkoglu added 16 and Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 15 apiece for Toronto, which has held its last three opponents under 40 per cent shooting since getting torched for 146 points in a lopsided loss to the Atlanta Hawks last Wednesday. Not surprisingly, all three games have resulted in victories.

``I think we're starting to dial in a little bit,'' said Triano. ``We've changed a few things and it seems to be working right now. But we're not ready to hang our hat on anything right now. There are a lot more games to play, and we're going to keep working.''

Kevin Love had 18 points off the bench to pace Minnesota (3-18), which lost for the third time in four games. Flynn scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, while Ryan Gomes added 16 in defeat.

Love, who was the target of Flynn's errant pass, pointed to that turnover as the pivotal point in the game.

``I've got to go get the ball,'' Love said. ``I let the ball bounce and that was a five-point swing right there. I know a lot of things happened in the game, we fought back. I've just to go get that ball.''

Jack was Toronto's most complete player Tuesday, adding eight assists and seven rebounds in place of starting point guard Jose Calderon, who missed the game with a sore left hip.

``Obviously we didn't shoot the ball the way we normally do,'' said Jack. ``I was just trying to put an emphasis on being aggressive, getting into the paint and trying to create shots for myself or kick it out to my teammates.''

After the Raptors saw their eight-point halftime lead whittled to three on a Damien Wilkins dunk, DeRozan converted a three-point play and added a two-handed breakaway slam later in the quarter to put Toronto up 56-48. The lead grew to 11 before Minnesota rallied, with a Ramon Sessions jumper that sent the Timberwolves into the fourth quarter down 64-63.

Toronto built a pair of five-point leads to open the fourth, only to see the Timberwolves rally back both times. With the game tied 75-75, Bosh hit a reverse layup while falling to the court, and made the ensuing free throw to put Toronto back ahead.

A Bargnani three restored the five-point edge, and he added a tip-in on Toronto's next possession. But the Timberwolves responded once more, a Love 14-footer tying the game at 84 and setting the stage for the Raptors' late heroics.

The Raptors, who wore retro uniforms to honour the 1946-47 Toronto Huskies, limited the Timberwolves to 37 per cent shooting and turned 15 Minnesota turnovers into 15 points. Toronto also dominated the free-throw battle, making 40 of 48 shots. The Timberwolves went 19-for-23 from the line.

Bosh finished the first quarter with eight points and seven rebounds -- both game highs -- as the Raptors built a six-point lead before Love hit a long contested jumper with less than second left, then made the ensuing foul shot to cut the deficit to 23-20.

A pair of Gomes jumpers ignited a 6-0 Minnesota run midway through the second quarter that gave the Timberwolves a one-point lead. The Raptors answered back, with Turkoglu's driving layup sparking a 14-4 surge that helped Toronto build a 43-35 halftime advantage.

The first half was as ugly as it gets from an offensive standpoint: The Raptors shot just 31.6 per cent from the field but still managed to outdo the Timberwolves, who went into the break at a 29.5-per-cent clip.

Notes: Bargnani's three extended Toronto's streak of games with at least one three-pointer to a league-record 883. ... With Calderon out, the Bosh-Bargnani-Turkoglu-DeRozan-Jack quintet represented just the third different starting lineup the Raptors have used this season. Toronto used 15 different starting lineups in 2008-09. ... Original Huskies player Gino Sovran of Windsor, Ont., was honoured prior to the game. Sovran, 85, appeared in six games with the team before he was released.