Scouting Report: Wolves (18-20) at Raptors (19-18) | Jan. 17, 2014

Scouting Report: Wolves (18-20) at Raptors (19-18) | Jan. 17, 2014


Timberwolves at Raptors | 6:00 PM — Air Canada Centre

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

The Eastern Conference has been somewhat of a punching bag lately among NBA circles, and maybe for good reason. Among the eight teams set to make the playoffs in the East right now, four of them have losing records.

The Raptors have been a pleasant surprise, though. Sitting at 19-18, they lead the an Atlantic Division that was supposed to be dominated by Brooklyn or New York. And they are doing all of this after trading their highest paid player in Rudy Gay.

The Wolves have been pretty average as of late, while the Raptors are the opposite, having won seven of their last 10 games. This week, Rick Adelman noted that sooner or later, the Wolves will need to make a run. After a tough loss on Wednesday, this seems like it would be a pretty good time to do so.

Last Meeting

Wolves Minute

Jan. 17, 2014

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The Wolves were 0-2 against the Raptors last season, with the last game coming on April 5. The Wolves fell at home 95-93 as Rudy Gay (now with Kings) and DeMar DeRozan combined for 51 points. Kyle Lowry added11 points and seven assists, while Jonas Valanciunas scored 12.

Minnesota was without Kevin Love. Nikola Pekovic led Minnesota with 24 points and eight rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) finished with 20 points, while Ricky Rubio had a nice all-around game, scoring 13 points to go with 12 assists, five rebounds and a steal. Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks), Derrick Williams (now with Kings), Dante Cunningham and Chase Budinger all finished with eight points.

This Week’s Results

Minnesota’s fourth quarter comeback attempt against the Sacramento Kings at the Target Center on Wednesday came up short as the Wolves fell 111-108.

The Wolves entered the half trailing 58-47, but they weren’t able to complete the comeback. Love led Minnesota with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Pekovic, Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea all finished with 14. Alexey Shved added 13 and Corey Brewer scored 12. The Wolves allowed the Kings to shoot a scorching 54.9 percent from the field.

In their last five games, the Wolves are 2-3.

The Raptors are coming off an 88-83 loss on Wednesday to the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden Center. DeRozan led Toronto with 23 points and eight rebounds. Lowry had his team’s only double-double, scoring 18 points to go with 12 assists. The ageless John Salmons pitched in with 13 off the bench. Jonas Valanciunas had a rough night, going 1-of-7 from the field.

Toronto is 3-2 in its last five games.

What To Watch: Kevin Martin vs. DeMar DeRozan

These two are considered two of the better shooting guards in the NBA. Martin is averaging 19.2 points per game this season, his highest total since the 2010-11 season with the Houston Rockets.

He’s struggled a bit as of late, though. In his last two games, he’s averaging 10 points per game and has shot a combined 8-of-26. The Wolves are 0-2 in those games. Minnesota will need more out of Martin if it wants to make a run in the West.

DeRozan is having the best season of his NBA career, averaging a team-best 21.3 points to go with 3.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. All of those numbers mark career highs. DeRozan is on quite the streak as he’s scored 20 or more points in six of his last eight games. This offense runs through him, so chances are Minnesota will use a lot of its defensive energy trying to stop him.

Injury Report

The Wolves appear to be at full strength.

Forward Amir Johnson (ankle) is probable for Toronto, while forward Tyler Hansbrough (ankle) is questionable.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Raptors
PG Ricky Rubio Kyle Lowry
SG Kevin Martin DeMar DeRozan
SF Corey Brewer Terrence Ross
PF Kevin Love Amir Johnson
C Nikola Pekovic Jonas Valanciunas


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.