Scouting Report: Wolves (31-30) vs. Raptors (34-26) | March 9, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Raptors | 6:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Wolves coach Rick Adelman noted in late January that while the Wolves did fall to the Raptors in their matchup on Jan. 17, he saw an edge to his team that he hadn’t seen yet in the season.
The Wolves have been up-and-down since that game, but with an outside chance at the playoffs, they will need to bring that extra edge on Sunday night against the Raptors. Toronto, a team that many dismissed to begin the season, is set to be a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.
For fans attending or watching the game, beware of the early 6 p.m. start. Historically, this matchup is not an easy one for the Wolves. Toronto has won 17 of 18 in this series, including five straight since the Wolves’ 103-87 win on Jan. 29, 2011.
The Wolves fell to the Raptors in their only matchup this season on Jan. 17. Toronto won 94-89 at the Air Canada Centre behind 24 points, six assists and five rebounds from Kyle Lowry. Amir Johnson pitched in with 19 points, while Terrence Ross scored 16. The Wolves did a nice job of limiting DeMar DeRozan, who scored just 15 points, shooting 5-of-17 from the field. Patrick Patterson led the second unit with 11 points.
Kevin Martin led the Wolves with 18 points. Kevin Love finished with the game’s only double-double, scoring 16 points while grabbing 12 boards. Nikola Pekovic added 13 points, while J.J. Barea led the second unit with 14 points. The Wolves were just 3-of-18 from the 3-point line.
This Week’s Results
The Timberwolves rebounded nicely after a tough loss to the Knicks on Wednesday with a 114-101 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday Night. Minnesota led by as many as 31 and really never let the Pistons get into the game until a short rally in the fourth. Kevin Love again paced the Wolves with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Kevin Martin shot 9-of-16 and had 24 points, Nikola Pekovic had 17 points and nine rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Minnesota is 7-2 in their last seven games.
The Raptors had a 104-98 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, then had four days off before beating the Kings 99-87 on Friday night against the Kings. In their latest wins, Terrence Ross had 18 points, while Jonas Valanciunas had 14 and both DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Patterson had 15 points each.
The Raptors are 5-1 in their last six and 8-2 in their last 10.
What To Watch: Kevin Martin vs. DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan appeared in his first career All-Star game this season, and for good reason. The shooting guard is putting up nearly 23 points per game, to go with a career-high 3-point percentage of 30.1 percent.
He’s been hot of late, putting up 30 points or more points in three of his last four games. Martin isn’t known for his defense, so it will be important for the Wolves to play a solid team defense against DeRozan, something they did well the last time they faced each other.
Martin, despite being in his 11th season in the league, is still putting up some solid numbers. Martin is scoring 19 points per game and 39 percent from the 3-point line, something he’s done just twice in his career since 2009. Since returning from a thumb injury on March 1, Martin has been solid, scoring 20 or more points twice.
Minnesota center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) is out indefinitely.
Toronto forward Terrence Ross (sprained left ankle) is probable.
|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|