Wolves Fall To Raptors 95-93; Adelman's 1,000th Win Put On Hold

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Rick Adelman’s 1,000th win will have to wait at least another night.

Key free throws down the stretch were the difference in Friday night’s 95-93 loss to the Raptors, as Minnesota went 3-of-6 from the line in the final two minutes that sealed Toronto’s 16th win in their last 17 games against Minnesota. The last was Rubio’s 1-for-2 trip to the line with 1.7 seconds left and a chance to tie the game.

“It happens,” coach Rick Adelman said while referring to Rubio’s missed free throw attempt. “You go to the line. He usually makes free throws, and tonight he missed that one. That's the way it goes.”

Although Minnesota produced a 13-0 run early in the third quarter, pushing their lead to a game-high 11 at 61-50, Toronto came back and brought the deficit to just two heading into the fourth.

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Wolves vs. Raptors

Things continued to go south afterwards, as the Wolves shot just 33 percent and couldn’t maintain control as Rudy Gay took over, hitting 10 of Toronto’s 24 points in the final frame.

“I think we did a pretty good job at the beginning of the game forcing them to shoot contested shots,” Andrei Kirilenko said. “In the third, fourth quarter, they started making them, and the game got a little bit different. Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish the game.”

The Wolves had a good start, shooting 50 percent in the first half. But the efficient scoring efforts of Toronto’s Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan—who went for 26 and 25 points, respectively—were too much.

“We just learn more and more how to play with each other,” Gay said, who came over to Toronto from a January 30 trade. “I'm learning how to play with everybody. It's definitely a task to learn how to fit in and to know guys and to know guys' space and where they want you to be."

DeRozan, usually known more for his athleticism than his jump shot, shot 50 percent from the field and forced the Wolves to switch their defender on him several times.

“It’s hard, because we usually play small, and we [don’t] have two big guys like that,” Rubio said of guarding Gay and DeRozan. “They can score and they play physically, and we don’t have two AKs on the team. It’s just something we have to learn and have to improve.”

Jonas Valanciunas, coming off the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award, fought with Nikola Pekovic all night in the paint and produced 12 points. Kyle Lowry had 11 points and seven assists for Toronto.

Nikola Pekovic shot 6-for-12 from the field and netted 24 points for Minnesota. Kirilenko added 20, and Ricky Rubio had a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists.

Although tonight was certainly disappointing, Kirilenko maintains that a win Saturday against Detroit would get rid of the bad taste in their mouths.

“You love to play right away,” Kirilenko said. “We can’t think about Detroit as an easy game. It’s going to be the same attitude, you have to come to the game and bring a lot of effort. Stay concentrated the whole game.”

Leader of the Pack: Nikola Pekovic

Pekovic banged against fellow European Valenciunas all night, and he got the better of the young center as he produced 24 points against him. Pekovic shot 50 percent from the field and hit 12 free throws. Add that to eight rebounds, and it was just another day in the office for him.

Play of the Game

Around the 2:30 mark in the first quarter, Derrick Williams got his shot blocked by Amir Johnson. Alan Anderson recovered the ball, but Ricky Rubio managed to steal the ball from the Minneapolis native and, while seated on the hardwood, flipped an assist to Kirilenko who found a lay-up.

Numbers Game

  • Tonight's loss is Minnesota's 16th in its last 17 contests with Toronto. Minnesota's last win against Toronto came on Nov. 4, 2012 at Air Canada Centre.

  • Tonight is Rubio's 14th game of the season with 10+ assists (he had 12 such games last year) and his 12th double-double (tying last year's total). After tonight's 1-of-3 effort from long range, Rubio is now 10 for his last 17 from the 3-point line.

  • Pekovic has now lead the Wolves in scoring in each of the last five games, averaging 24.3 points over that span.
  • Tonight was Kirilenko’s eighth 20-point game of the season

  • Quotable

    "I think coach well deserves this number, but you can’t go on the floor thinking we are going to get it easily. It takes a lot of effort. I think we have effort, but not enough focus, especially in the third or fourth quarter."—Andrei Kirilenko on if the Wolves were thinking about getting Adelman’s 1,000th win during Friday’s game

    Next Up

    The Wolves will take on the second half of their back-to-back homestand as they host the Detroit Pistons Saturday night before heading out west.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com